San Diego microtome blades

Proper care and maintenance is a must for surgical tools like safety scalpels in San Diego. They need to be sterilized and disinfected before and after use. When it comes to instruments like scalpel, forceps, retractors etc. it is understandable that they will be used on vital body organs so you must ensure that they are completely germ free and disinfected before you end up using them. If the surgical instruments are cleaned and disinfected properly there is little to no chance of infections.

scalpel handle types

Correct Use of laryngoscope handle in San Diego

Proper maintenance of these instruments are required in San Diego, and it also increases the life span of the instruments. This results in reducing extra costs like repairs and replacements. Also you need to make sure that the instruments which are disposable are being disposed in a proper way as per the health regulations of San Diego. You do not want them to get used by someone else. So ensure that all needles and other disposable surgical instruments are gathered and properly disposed off, since failure to do so will allow microorganisms to spread to and cause further diseases. These are some of the factors which everyone who uses operating room instruments must keep in mind; they will help in ensuring the safety of the patient as well as the other people in the San Diego area. Hospitals have proper procedures for disposing off such medical devices as well.

Proper Surgical Instruments

disposable surgical instruments

Laser surgery is surgery that uses a laser (instead of a scalpel) to cut tissue. Examples include the use of a laser scalpel in otherwise conventional surgery, and soft-tissue laser surgery, in which the laser beam vaporizes soft tissue with high water content. Laser resurfacing is a technique in which covalent bonds of a material are dissolved by a laser, a technique invented by aesthetic plastic surgeon Thomas L Roberts, III using CO2 lasers in the 1990s. The CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser remains the gold standard for the soft tissue surgery because of the ease of simultaneous photo-thermal ablation and coagulation (and small blood capillary hemostasis).

Laser surgery is commonly used on the eye. Techniques used include LASIK, which is used to correct near and far-sightedness in vision, and photorefractive keratectomy, a procedure which permanently reshapes the cornea using an excimer laser to remove a small amount of tissue. Types of surgical lasers include carbon dioxide, argon, Nd:YAG laser, and Potassium titanyl phosphate.

  1. Photochemical effect: clinically referred to as photodynamic therapy. Photosensitizer (photophrin II) is administered which is taken up by the tumor tissue and later irradiated by laser light resulting in highly toxic substances with resultant necrosis of the tumor. Photodynamic therapy is used in palliation of oesophagial and bronchial carcinoma and ablation of mucosal cancers of Gastrointestinal tract and urinary bladder.
  2. Photoablative effect: Used in eye surgeries like band keratoplast, and endartectomy of peripheral blood vessels.
  3. Photothermal effect: this property is used for endoscopic control of bleeding e.g. Bleeding peptic ulcers, oesophagial varices
  4. Photomechanical effect: used in intraluminal lithotripsy

A range of lasers such as erbium, dye, and CO2 are used to treat various skin conditions including scars, vascular and pigmented lesions, and for photorejuvenation.

Various types of laser surgery are used to treat refractive error:

Lasers are also used to treat non-refractive conditions, such as:

Laser endarterectomy is a technique in which an entire atheromatous plaque in the artery is excised. Laser recanalization of blocked arteries. other applications include laser assisted angioplasties and laser assisted vascular anastomosis.

Lasers are used to treat several disorders in foot and ankle surgery. They are used to remove benign and malignant tumors, treat bunions, debride ulcers and burns, excise epidermal nevi, blue rubber bleb nevi, and keloids, and the removal of hypertrophic scars and tattoos.

A carbon dioxide laser (CO2) is used in surgery to treat onychocryptosis (ingrown nails), onychauxis (club nails), onychogryposis (rams horn nail), and onychomycosis (fungus nail).

  1. Peritoneum-Laser is used for adhesiolysis.
  2. Peptic ulcer disease and oesophageal varices - Laser photoablation is done.
  3. Coagulation of vascular malformations of stomach, duodenum and colon.
  4. Lasers can be effectively used to treat early gastric cancers provided they are less than 4 cm and without lymph node involvement. Lasers are also used in treating oral submucous fibrosis.
  5. Palliative laser therapy is given in advanced oesophageal cancers with obstruction of lumen. Recanalisation of the lumen is done which allows the patient to resume soft diet and maintain hydration.
  6. Ablative laser therapy is used in advanced colorectal cancers to relieve obstruction and to control bleeding.
  7. Laser surgery used in hemorrhoidectomy, and is a relatively popular and non-invasive method of hemorrhoid removal.
  8. Laser-assisted liver resections have been done using carbon dioxide and Nd:YAG lasers.
  9. Ablation of liver tumors can be achieved by selective photovaporization of the tumor.
  10. Endoscopic laser lithotripsy is a safer modality compared to electrohydraulic lithotripsy.

The CO2 laser is used in oral and dental surgery for virtually all soft-tissue procedures, such as gingivecomies, vestibuloplasties, frenectomies and operculectomies. The CO2 10,600 nm wavelength is safe around implants as it is reflected by titanium, and thus has been gaining popularity in the field of periodontology. The laser may also be effective in treating peri-implantitis.

Laser spine surgery first began seeing clinical use in the 1980s and was primarily used within discectomy to treat lumbar disc disease under the notion that heating a bulging disc vaporized enough tissue to relieve pressure on the nerves and help alleviate pain.

Since that time, laser spine surgery has become one of the most marketed forms of minimally invasive spine surgery, despite the fact that it has never been studied in a controlled clinical trial to determine its effectiveness apart from disc decompression. Evidence-based data surrounding the use of lasers in spine surgery is limited primarily due to the presence of a number of challenging factors including patient selection, operative indications in the type of laser used in the procedure. As a result, the official Blue Cross of Idaho position on laser disc surgery concluded:

"Evidence on decompression of the intervertebral disc using laser energy consists of observational studies. Given the variable natural history of back pain and the possibility of placebo effects with this treatment, observational studies are insufficient to permit conclusions concerning the effect of this technology on health outcomes."

The CO2 laser is also used in gynecology, genitourinary, general and thoracic surgery, otorhinolaryngology, orthopedic, and neurosurgery.

History and Use of Scalpels in Surgery

A scalpel, or lancet, is a small and extremely sharp bladed instrument used for surgery, anatomical dissection, and various arts and crafts (called a hobby knife). Scalpels may be single-use disposable or re-usable. 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".

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).

The handle is also known as a "B.P. handle", named after Charles Russell Bard and Morgan Parker, founders of the Bard-Parker Company. Morgan Parker patented the 2-piece scalpel design in 1915 and Bard-Parker developed a method of cold sterilization that would not dull the blades, as did the heat-based method that was previously used.

The handle of medical scalpels come in two basic types. The first is a flat handle used in the #3 and #4 handles. The #7 handle is more like a long writing pen, rounded at the front and flat at the back. A #4 handle is larger than a #3. Blades are manufactured with a corresponding fitment size so that they fit on only one size handle. The following table of blades is incomplete and some blades listed may work with handles not specified here.

Palmar grip

Also called the "dinner knife" grip. The handle is held with the second through fourth fingers and secured along the base of the thumb, with the index finger extended along the top rear of the blade and the thumb along the side of the handle. This grip is best for initial incisions and larger cuts.

Pencil grip

Best used for more accurate cuts with smaller blades. The scalpel is held with the tips of the first and second fingers and the tip of the thumb with the handle resting on the fleshy base of the index finger and thumb. Care should be taken not to allow the handle to rest too far along the index finger as this promotes an unstable grip and cramped fingers.

X-Acto knife

Graphical and model-making scalpels tend to have round handles, with textured grips (either knurled metal or soft plastic). These are often called by the name of the most well-known manufacturer of graphic arts blades, X-Acto knives. The blade is usually flat and straight, allowing it to be run easily against a straightedge to produce straight cuts.

There are many kinds of graphic arts blades; the most common around the graphic design studio is the #11 blade which is very similar to a #11 surgical blade (q.v.). Other blade shapes are used for wood carving, cutting leather and heavy fabric, etc.

Needlestick injury

In the last decade, a rising awareness of the dangers of sharps in a medical environment has led to the development of various methods of protecting healthcare workers from accidental cuts and puncture wounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 1,000 people each day are subject to accidental needle sticks and lacerations while providing medical care. Scalpel blade injuries are among the most frequent sharps injuries, second only to needlesticks. Scalpel injuries make up 7 percent to 8 percent of all sharps injuries.

"Scalpel Safety" is a term coined to inform users that there are choices available to them to ensure their protection from this common sharps injury.

Safety scalpels are becoming increasingly popular as their prices come down and also on account of legislation such as the Needle Stick Prevention Act. There are essentially two kinds of disposable safety scalpels offered by various manufacturers. They can be either classified as retractable blade or retractable sheath type. The retractable blade version made by companies such as OX Med Tech, DeRoyal, Jai Surgicals, and Swann Morton are more intuitive to use due to their similarities to a standard box-cutter. Retractable sheath versions have much stronger ergonomic feel for the doctors and are made by companies such as Aditya Dispomed, Aspen Surgical and Southmedic. A few companies have also started to offer a safety scalpel with a reusable metal handle. In such models, the blade is usually protected in a cartridge. Such systems usually require a custom handle and the price of blades and cartridges is considerably more than for conventional surgical blades.

However, CDC studies shows that up to 87% of active medical devices are not activated. Safety scalpels are active devices and therefore the risk of not activating is still significant. There is a study that indicated there were actually four times more injuries with safety scalpels than reusable scalpels.

There are various scalpel blade removers on the market that allows users to safely remove blades from the handle, instead of dangerously using fingers or forceps. In the medical field, when taking into account activation rates, the combination of a single-handed scalpel blade remover with a passing tray or a neutral zone was as safe and up to five times safer than a safety scalpel. Companies like Qlicksmart offers a single-handed scalpel blade remover that complies with regulatory requirements such as US Occupational Safety and Health Administration Standards.

The usage of both safety scalpels and a single-handed blade remover, combined with a hands-free passing technique, are potentially effective in reducing scalpel blade injuries. It is up to employers and scalpel users to consider and use safer and more effective scalpel safety measures when feasible.


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