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A Guide to Most Common Medical Equipment We See

Whenever you go to the doctor’s office, you probably noticed there are a lot of different supplies, machines, and tools. Each one of these has a specific use and purpose. Since it can be a bit confusing, 5-Minute Crafts created this simple guide to help you understand what the different medical equipment is for.


stethoscope is a device used for auscultation or hearing the body sounds more clearly. It consists of a tunable diaphragm that is placed against the skin and 2 tubes that are connected to 2 ear tips. The sound can be heard when the stethoscope diaphragm is placed on a patient’s chest or back and is mainly used to hear the lungs, heart, or intestines. The sound waves that travel through the patient’s body cause the flat surface of the diaphragm to vibrate and create sounds.

Tongue depressors

The tongue depressor, or spatula, is a tool used for depressing the tongue when an examination of the throat and mouth is needed. Spatulas are mostly wooden, with a thin flat surface and rounded edges.


A sphygmomanometer is a medical tool that is used to measure blood pressure in a controlled manner. These devices can be:

  • Manual: these are used with a stethoscope and an inflatable cuff connected to a needle pressure gauge. They allow the patient’s blood pressure to be measured by the auscultatory method. These are mainly used by health care professionals.
  • Digital: these have monitors on them and automatically measure blood pressure. After measuring, it provides a digital display of the measurement. They are mainly used by patients to measure their blood pressure on their own.

Head mirror

The head mirror is used for ear, nose, and throat examinations. It is a circular concave mirror attached to a headband that has a small hole in the middle. This device is worn over the doctor’s eye with the concave surface facing outward and the hole directly over the eye.


Medical x-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation that is used to generate images of tissues and structures inside the body. The part of the body that has to be imaged is located between an x-ray source and an x-ray detector. The x-rays travel through the body and are absorbed in different amounts by different tissues, that’s why there are different shades on the image. The image that will be formed represents the “shadows” from the objects inside the body.


A syringe is used for injecting liquid into the body of patients. It consists of a hollow cylinder barrel with a plunger inside it and a thin needle that is attached to a tube at the end of the barrel. The barrel is usually transparent and has markings for controlling the correct amount of medicine which is measured in milliliters (mL).


bandage is a sterilized piece of cloth that is used to cover a dressing or splint and to provide support or restrict the movement of an injured part of the body. The dressing is applied directly to a wound, and a bandage is used to hold the dressing in place. Bandages that provide support are:

  • Elastic bandages are used to provide support to a sprained ankle and to help reduce the swelling.
  • Tight bandages are used in situations where the extremities are bleeding heavily. Their main purpose is to slow blood flow to an extremity.

ECG machine

An ECG machine is used to measure heart rhythm and electrical activity. The graph is displayed electronically. The machine comes with electrodes that are then attached to the body’s surface which are used to detect the electrical signals produced by the heart each time it beats.

IV pole and bag

IV poles are tools in medicine that keep intravenous bags, that are full of medicine or fluid, in place. They have rolling bases and are easily transported from one place to another. At the top of the pole, there are hooks that are used to hook IV bags. The IV bags are then connected by a tube and needle into a patient’s veins. The purpose of IV therapy is to deliver vital fluids efficiently to the bloodstream.


This medical tool is used to manipulate incisions or to hold an organ out of the way during surgery. Retractors might be handheld, suspended at the end of a robotic arm, clamped in place, or self-retained.


Scalpels are medical tools that are used to make necessary cuts in the body for certain extractions. They come in various sizes and shapes, which are different depending on the type of cut that’s needed.

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