Invented in 1907 by Dr. Sidney Yankauer, the Yankauer suction tip has withstood the test of time. The rigid Yankauer suction tip was originally designed to remove blood and secretions from a patient’s oral airway during tonsillectomy procedures. In fact, many practitioners call the Yankauer a “tonsil tip” suction device for this reason.
Most commonly made of rigid plastic, the Yankauer catheter became a common tool in the operating room for many surgical procedures as its design allows for removal of fluid while minimizing surrounding tissue trauma.
Uses of the Yankauer Suction Tip
The Yankauer suction tip is a standard device in virtually all operating rooms worldwide. In a controlled environment such as the operating room, the Yankauer suction tip is efficient and reliable. The Yankauer catheter is attached to a suction machine in the operating room using disposable suction tubing, allowing the surgeon to clear debris and fluid from the surgical field using its handheld rigid design.
In addition to the surgical operating room, the Yankauer suction tip is a standard piece of equipment used to clear the patient’s airway and prevent aspiration during dental procedures. Surgeons and dentists rely on the Yankauer suction tip to clear the airway while simultaneously protecting the tissue of the airway or surrounding surgical area tissue.
Where the Yankauer Falls Short
Though the Yankauer suction tip is reliable in a controlled setting, its use in emergency situations falls short. The standard Yankauer catheter often has a thumb port so that suction can be applied and interrupted. This feature is valuable in the operating room setting but can be frustrating and inefficient in the prehospital and emergency setting where continuous suction is needed.
Another common pitfall to the Yankauer catheter when used in emergency environments is clogging of the catheter. Though hollow in design, the Yankauer’s standard inner diameter may not be able to quickly remove viscous contaminants, such as large volumes of blood or vomitus. Fortunately, advances in medical technology and devices have led to the development of suction catheters that are better suited for unpredictable patient scenarios and environments.
Innovation Meets Functionality
The innovative design of the SSCOR DuCanto Catheterr marries the functionality of the standard rigid suction catheter with the efficiency of a high-volume suction catheter. Invented by anesthesiologist Dr. James DuCanto, the SSCOR DuCanto Catheter is designed to remove contaminants from the upper airway during both routine airway management as well as unpredictable patient resuscitations. When compared to the Yankauer catheter, the SSCOR DuCanto Catheter has a larger lumen for easier and more rapid removal of contaminants, with a decreased chance for clogging at the tip of the catheter. Additionally, the SSCOR DuCanto Catheter does not have a thumb port requiring occlusion. This feature keeps the suction on at all times, allowing first responders to free up a hand that would normally be used to hold the suction catheter. The SSCOR DuCanto Catheter’s unique hyper curved design fits the oropharyngeal anatomy, making it easy to position the catheter and perform Dr. DuCanto’s SALAD technique. SALAD stands for
Suction Assisted Laryngoscopy and Airway Decontamination. This technique involves constant suction, removing the patient’s blood, vomitus, or secretions while simultaneously performing laryngoscopy and intubation. For more on the use of the SSCOR DuCanto Catheter and SALAD, see Dr. DuCanto himself describe it here.
While the Yankauer suction tip has withstood the test of time, medical advances in technology have improved the Yankauer’s design to better serve routine and unpredictable situations. No matter which catheter first responders use, the right suction device can save patients’ lives and improve provider efficiency by reducing