Intubating tongue retractor

Intubating Tongue Retractor Makes Intubation Easier

  • Inexpensive device specialized for clearing the mouth and opening the jaw
  • Easy to manufacture as a durable or disposable device
  • A perfect complement to camera assisted intubation


Licensing Manager: Tyler Scherr, PhD or 402-559-2140.


New intubating tongue retractor makes intubation easier

Ben Boedeker, M.D.

Ben Boedeker, M.D., Ph.D., D.V.M., M.B.A.

Airway intubation, the procedure where an inserted tube assists a patient to breathe, can be complicated by the patient’s anatomy, lack of mobility in the neck, and trauma in the mouth and throat.
UNMC physician Ben Boedeker developed a novel tongue retractor with a wider working blade and a more ergonomic curve that helps manage complications during intubation by immobilizing the tongue and facilitating jaw opening.
The intubating tongue retractor is a proven tool to help manage the difficult airway. It fills a recognized gap in airway management and will be an essential tool for any intubation kit.

To discuss licensing opportunities please contact Tyler Scherr, PhD, at or 402-559-2140.

Technical details

Boedeker Intubating Tongue Retractor

Prototype Intubating Tongue Retractor
Twenty-two anesthesia providers (anesthesia attending physicians, residents and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Omaha VAMC, Omaha, NE) participated in simulated intubation of a difficult manikin airway.
During the trial, the tongue on a Laerdal Difficult Airway Trainer (Laerdal Medical Corp, Gatesville, TX) was inflated to simulate a difficult airway. The anesthesia providers performed timed intubations using the Bonfils video fiberscope (Karl Storz Endoscopy, Tuttlingen, Germany) with and without the novel tongue retractor
Following their intubation experiences, the providers completed a questionnaire qualifying their experience with, and value of, the novel tongue blade retractor, and whether or not they would use the novel tongue retractor for other procedures.
The combination of the fiberscope and retractor offer a superior intubation experience to currently available best practices. The tongue retractor was well received and most of the participants indicated that they would welcome this device should it become clinically available in the future.

Device Average Airway Score # of intubation attempts
Bonfils 1.67 ± 1.02 1.09 ± 0.29
Bonfils w/ blade 1.45 ± 0.80 1.05 ± 0.21