A bone saw or bone cutter is a group of tools used in surgery to penetrate or amputate bone. As amputation was a surgeon's trade until the mid 19th century, bone saws were one of the most common tools employed by surgeons and remain an important part of their inventory, although the scalpel is now the most common tool used by surgeons. There are several different tools used for bone surgery:
- Manually powered tools, such as hacksaws and sabre saws. These are often used in conjunction with a specialized jig for precision cutting, such as that which is necessary during knee surgery.
- The gigli saw, which is a sharpened flexible wire with a handle at each end, used when the cut for the amputation must be very clean.
- Powered rotary saws, which are usually used where precision is necessary, such as cuts to the ribs or skull.
- Reciprocating powered saws, which are used when less precision is required.
- The sternal saw, used for cutting through the sternum during chest surgery.
Technology using high volume high frequency sound waves to penetrate bone are now in development and are being used on an experimental basis.