We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Towel Clamp?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 06, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A towel clamp is a surgical instrument which is used to secure towels and surgical draping during a medical procedure. In addition to being used in the operating room, towel clamps are also used in procedures in clinics and doctor's offices where drapes are used. For example, when a dentist drapes a patient to prepare for a tooth cleaning, these clamps may be involved. The purpose of the clamp is to make sure that the draping stays in place during the procedure.

The basic towel clamp design includes locking handles and a tip which may be curved or pointed, and may have teeth for traction. To use the clamp, someone opens it, positions it where it is needed, and closes it again. The clamp will hold until someone releases it. The design of the clamp can vary slightly, depending on usage and manufacturer, but is generally easy to use.

In some cases, a towel clamp is disposable, made from a material like plastic. In other instances, the clamps are made from materials like metal which can be sterilized so that the clamps can be reused. Environmentally, the tradeoff between disposable and reusable can be difficult to balance. While disposable clamps generate more waste, sterilizing, cleaning, and storing reusable clamps can require energy and space.

A clamp can be positioned in a number of ways. The clamp may connect two towels, clip to a frame, or in the case of the Backhaus clamp, it can also clamp towels directly to the patient's skin. In this case, the design is intended to allow the clamp to clip without occluding or pinching, to prevent complications during surgery and pain during surgical recovery. However the clamps are used, they prevent unexpected changes of position in the surgical draping, ensuring that the field remains sterile and clear so that the doctor can focus on the task at hand.

Many surgical supply catalogs carry towel clamps, both reusable and disposable, along with other surgical tools and accessories. Some companies manufacture multiuse tools which can be used to clamp towels, occlude IV lines as needed, and perform an array of similar tasks. This reduces the amount of tools which need to be kept on hand by allowing people to use tools for multiple functions. However, people should be careful about utilizing tools for uses they are not designed for, as this can create a safety problem.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Mor — On Jul 28, 2011

There are probably patented towel clamp designs out there.

From what I understand a lot of medical equipment is designed by doctors who really wanted something that would perform a particular task.

Probably they did start out with something like pegs, but as surgery became more exact, and hygiene became important they began getting specialized clamps made from better materials.

A scapel was probably originally just a knife that doctors modified over time to be more useful, until they came across the currently accepted design.

You can probably see the ancestors of these tools in medical museums.

By lluviaporos — On Jul 27, 2011

I find it really interesting how many different kinds of specialized tools are used in surgery. Towel clamps are a good example. It always makes me wonder how these tool are developed. They must be used all over the world, does someone have a patent on them?

Or are they just like pegs or, I don't know, a hammer in that they are so obvious and have been around so long that they aren't patented.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.