A surgical instrument that includes a rigid outer member within which is disposed a hollow inner member having rigid proximal and distal ends and a region disposed between the rigid proximal and distal ends that is relieved to render such region relatively flexible. The flexible region is integral with a portion of the proximal end disposed adjacent to the flexible region. The inner member transmits force (such as torsion) applied to its proximal end to move a cutting implement disposed at its distal end and cause it to cut tissue admitted through an opening in the distal region of the outer member. In another aspect, a region of the inner member is weakened (e.g., by relieving an integral region of the member) with respect to the remainder of the inner member to cause this region to break if the force (e.g., torque) applied to the inner member exceeds a predetermined threshold. In yet another aspect, the flexible region is relieved by forming openings therein, and pliable material (such as silicone rubber) is disposed in the openings.