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A scalpel, or lancet, is a small and extremely sharp bladed instrument used for surgery, anatomical dissection, and also for various arts and crafts (called a hobby knife). Scalpels may be single-use disposable or re-usable, and recently Safety Scalpels are the norm in the Operating Rooms. Re-usable scalpels can have permanently attached blades that can be sharpened or, more commonly, removable single-use blades. Disposable scalpels usually have a plastic handle with an extensible blade (like a utility knife) and are used once, then the entire instrument is discarded. Scalpel blades are usually individually packed in sterile pouches but are also offered non-sterile. Double-edged scalpels are referred to as “lancets”.

bard parker scalpel handle

 

Scalpel blades are usually made of hardened and tempered steel, stainless steel, or high carbon steel; in addition, titanium, ceramic, diamond and even obsidian knives are not uncommon. For example, when performing surgery under MRI guidance, steel blades are unusable (the blades would be drawn to the magnets, or may cause image artifacts). Historically, the preferred material for surgical scalpels was silver, on account of its antimicrobial properties (although the mechanics were not understood at the time). Scalpel blades are also offered by select manufacturers with a zirconium nitride-coated edge to improve sharpness and edge retention. Others manufacture blades that are polymer-coated to enhance lubricity during a cut. Alternatives to scalpels in surgical applications include electrocautery and lasers.

Reusable handle (top) and disposable scalpels (bottom):

Surgical scalpels consist of two parts, a blade and a handle. The handles are often reusable, with the blades being replaceable. In medical applications, each blade is only used once (even if just for a single, small cut).

Laprascopy With the Harmonic Scalpel

blade handle

 

Hospitals can be scary sometimes but we can’t deny the fact that millions of lives are saved in these institutions every day. Being a doctor is definitely not an easy affair. Not only do these professionals have to become masters in understanding human biology but they also have to perfect their skills and capabilities of using various medical instruments. Can you think of a painter without the required paint brushes? Or a carpenter without his tools? Similarly, a doctor without his medical devices would be just like an audience on a show where, ideally, he should be performing on stage. No operation or diagnosis or procedure or even test can be carried out without necessary tools and equipment. It is important to know what these tools are and what their utilities are.

So if you are interested in medical tools and procedures and would like to understand how these are carried out, here is a list of the most basic medical instruments that you can find on an operating room. Hope this article helps you in your search for information.

# Scissors

The use of scissors as operating room instruments need not be highlighted or stated. No operation can be done without scissors. Scissors used in surgery come in two main types: Metzenbaum and Mayo scissors. Metzenbaum scissors are used in case of cutting or dissecting soft delicate tissues. Mayo scissors are preferred for cutting hard tissues such as joints. These scissors are used to cut thick tissues located in the breast and the muscles. Made up of stainless steel, these scissors are usually manufactured in variable lengths.

# Scalpel

Whether it is a major or a minor operation, a scalpel plays a very vital role in all of them. It is a knife that comes with stainless steel blades. Each and every surgery has its different needs but during every surgery, a correct incision is a must which cannot be carried out without a scalpel.

# Forceps

Forceps look like kitchen tongs. It allows the surgeon to hold and grasp the skin tissues firmly. Whether it is clamping the arteries or holding a part of intestine while operating, forceps can be relied upon. Also, this surgical instrument comes in a range of sizes so that the surgeon can choose one depending upon the need of the situation. The large ones are designed to hold a baby’s head and their main purpose is to safely get the baby out from the birth canal during a cesarean.

Of course there are other tools as well which will vary from surgery to surgery. They are manufactured with a wide variety of materials like platinum, stainless steel, tungsten carbide, chromium and other non-reactive and high strength metals. Designs and applications of medical devices have also evolved much over time. The more we advance into health care and medical science, the more new tools and equipment we will create for aiding surgeons in performing life saving procedures.