The USPTO has recently published Classification Order #1877 affecting subclasses in Class 606, Surgery. Class 606 is part of a mega-class composed of Classes 128, 600, 601, 602, 604, 606, 607. Class 606 covers surgical instruments. This is the third classification order issued this year. As of June 1, 2008, approximately 38,000 patents (1790-present) and 21,000 published applications (2001-present) are classified in Class 606.
I'm the librarian for research services in the Engineering and Science Library at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. I've been working with patent information since 1991, including seven years at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I believe that the dissemination of patent information is a public good and should be promoted, especially in the education of science and engineering students.