This system has a frame (closed ring) fixed by a rail arm attached to the operating table. Different retracting accessories, such as blades and paddles, are available that can be clamped to the frame. The Bookwalter retracting system is used for both longitudinal and transverse abdominal incisions. Although some training is necessary to achieve a safe installation, fine adjustment is possible in three dimensions. Cleaning and sterilization need substantial effort due to the rather complex single components.
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For centuries, ever since the legendary Ponce de Leon went searching for the elusive Fountain of Youth, people have been looking for ways to slow down the aging process. Medical science has made great strides in keeping people alive longer by preventing and curing disease, and helping people to live healthier lives. Average life expectancy keeps increasing, and most of us can look forward to the chance to live much longer lives than our ancestors.