What Types of Tools Do Doctors Typically Use?

In 2022, it was estimated that there were over a million practicing physicians in the United States. So, when you ask a doctor, “What tools do you use?” many will look at you with overwhelming confusion as they likely have a long list of tools and instruments that they use daily, as well as specialty items only used in certain situations.

You should know what specialty a doctor or surgeon works in before you ask what equipment they use, as many of the specialties are broken down by age and part of the body.

Although medical professionals work with similar areas of the body and use similar tools, a neurologist and neurosurgeon work with entirely different instruments (we’ll go more into that later.)

Below, we have listed four types of medical disciplines, the doctors' and surgeons' specializations, and the standard tools used within these specialties. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are the Four Types of Medical Doctors?

While many of us are used to referring to medical professionals as “doctors,” there are actually many different types of doctors. Here are the four most common specialties.

1. Internal Medical Specialists

Internal medicine will only care for adults and provide preventative care while diagnosing and treating different diseases. In 2021, this specialty had the most significant number of active physicians.

2. Family Medical Specialists

Family medical specialists are very similar in providing the care listed above. However, these physicians may also treat babies, children, and sometimes pregnant women.

3. Pediatric Medical Specialist

When medical specialist focuses on pediatrics, they provide primary care for babies and children up to 18, primary care, childhood development, and preventative medicine.

4. Surgical Specialists

A surgical specialist, or surgeon, is called in to focus on medical problems that require surgery, especially when medication alone cannot treat them.

To understand the tools used in each of these categories, we need to break these areas of medicine even further to better understand the tools used by the different doctors and surgeons.

What Tools Do Internal Medicine Specialists Use?

Different types of doctors may use different tools in the scope of their practices. Here are some of the most common tools by internal medicine specialities,


Care for the nervous system, including diagnosing and treating brain, spinal cord, and nerve diseases. There are also subspecialties here, including those focusing on the brain and those focusing on spinal cord injuries.

The equipment they may use includes:


An Oscilloscope consists of one or more tiny needles, better known as electrodes, inserted into the muscle during an EMG test. The device then shows the electrical activity as waves on a screen.

Cranial Perforator

This device performs a craniotomy, a surgical technique where the physician drills into the skull to remove a part of the bone.


Dermatology works to diagnose and treat diseases involving skin (the largest organ of the body), hair, and nails.

The equipment they may use includes:


This instrument polarizes and magnifies vision to better see skin irregularities. It removes light reflection, diffraction, and refraction from the skin’s surface to provide a more accurate reading.


A cryoprobe uses extreme cold during cryosurgery and often treats diseased tissue such as skin tags, moles, warts, and malignant and benign skin cancers.


A cardiologist focuses on the heart and cardiovascular health. They often diagnose and treat diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and irregular heart rhythms.

Tools they may use include:

Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

This device is implanted in patients with advanced heart disease, heart failure, and certain genetic arrhythmias to perform defibrillation to stabilize their heart rhythms.


Pacemakers are often used to treat bradycardia, which causes the heart to beat too slowly. The pacemaker produces electrical pulses that keep the heart beating normally.

There are two kinds of pacemakers:

  1. The traditional model is placed under the skin and connects to the heart via electronic leads.
  2. A newer model is a smaller, leadless pacemaker placed inside the heart and does not require transvenous leads.

What Tools Do Family Practitioners Use?


A stethoscope has two earpieces connected by a piece of a flexible tube to a diaphragm and is a prevalent instrument.


Medical practitioners use this tool to look inside a patient’s ear and examine their ear canal.

What Tools Do Urgent Care Facilities Use?

There are over 6,000 urgent care facilities in the United States as of 2022. This number is expected to grow as patients start turning more often to urgent care than their primary care physician or the emergency room.

Blood Pressure Monitors

A sphygmomanometer, better known as a blood pressure monitor, measures a patient's blood pressure in their arteries.


There are two common types of thermometers: a conventional thermometer and a digital thermometer, which are common among all doctors.

Emergency Rooms

Emergency rooms are for patients that require acute and immediate medical assistance for severe, life-threatening illnesses. Much of the equipment needed in this department is for various testing to rule out certain diseases and conditions to get a faster action plan.

Some of those devices include:

X-ray machines

An X-ray machine allows doctors to see into a patient’s body without the need for an incision.


An electrocardiogram, an EKG, is used to evaluate possible heart conditions and problems.


Ventilators provide therapy that helps you breathe whether you can do so on your own.

There are two different kinds of ventilators, including:

What Tools Do Pediatric Medical Specialists Use?

Pediatric medical specialists work specifically with newborns, infants, and children eighteen years old and younger. Many of their tools are similar to the ones listed above; however, they must be smaller to accommodate smaller bodies and organs. Some of the necessary equipment includes:

Neonatal incubators

A neonatal incubator is designed to provide a safe and controlled space for newborn babies to live as their vital organs develop and are often used in the NICU.

Pediatric Nebulizers

This device is used to disperse asthma medication. For children six years and younger, they can use it as a mask, or for children older than six; they can use a mouthpiece.

What Tools Do Surgical Specialists Use?

Surgical specialists spend most of their time in the operating room and require the most advanced medical equipment to improve patient prognosis and encourage a quick recovery. Some of these surgeons include:

Orthopedic Surgeons

Working in orthopedic surgery means they specialize in managing and treating the body's muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The equipment they often use is:

Meals Tenolysis Surgical Instruments

These tools reduce hand fatigue while maximizing a surgeon’s access to tendon surfaces. It is a four-piece set with double-ended knives for accessing, probing, and lysing tendons.


A Bovie is a pencil-shaped electrosurgery device. It uses alternating electrical currents to generate heat to either cut or coagulate tissue.


As previously mentioned in the internal practice of neurology, a neurosurgeon will perform surgery on the brain and spinal cord to help treat neurologic diseases using the following instruments:


A craniotome, often called a cranial drill, is used to drill simple burr holes into the skull. This will expose the brain, allowing the surgeon to perform operations.

Suction Devices

Although not as complex as other devices in this article, suction devices suck blood and saline away to help wash the brain tissue during surgery.

Thoracic Surgeon

A Thoracic Surgeon performs surgery on the organs in the chest, such as the heart, lungs, and esophagus. Because of the large number of organs to be treated, there are various tools used by these surgeons, including:

Electrocautery Machine

Electrocautery is a procedure in which the surgeon applies extreme heat to an area to burn away abnormal tissue, such as a tumor. It can also be used to control bleeding after surgery.


A Dissector is a small hand-held tool used during surgery to scrape, elevate, and manipulate delicate tissue.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, when approaching a doctor regarding the tools they use, you want to be sure you understand their specialty and what health setting they are providing care in, whether it be a primary care office, an Emergency Room, or an Operating Room.

AcuityMD can help you with this process by helping track what local physicians and surgeons are likely using in your area. This is an excellent way to find your competition and better prepare your pitch before ever approaching your prospective buyer.


2022 Physician Specialty Data Report Executive Summary | AAMC

Total active physicians in the U.S. 2022, by state | Statista

Urgent Care Centers in the US - Employment Statistics | IBISWorld

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