What is the Scalpel ?
A scalpel, or lancet, is a small, extremely sharp instrument used to perform surgeries, anatomical dissections, and various crafts. The scalpel is a tool to make precision cuts in human skin and soft tissues.
Scalpels or scalpels can be reusable or disposable for single use. Reusable scalpels may have attached, resharpenable blades or, more commonly, replaceable, unconnected blades. Disposable scalpels generally have a plastic handle with an extendible blade and are used once, then the entire instrument is discarded.
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Scalpel blades are usually individually packaged in sterile bags, but are also available unsterilized. Double-edged scalpels are called «lancets. Scalpel blades are generally made of mild steel, stainless steel, or high carbon steel; in addition, titanium, ceramic, diamond, and even obsidian blades are not uncommon.
For example, when performing surgery under MRI guidance, steel blades cannot be used or can cause image damage. Select manufacturers also offer scalpel blades with a zirconium nitride coated edge to improve edge sharpness and retention. Others manufacture polymer-coated blades to improve lubricity during a cut.
Alternatives to scalpels in surgical applications include electro-cautery and laser. While the word «scalpel» used in the Spanish word since the 15th century derives from the French bistoure, which was used for daggers or small daggers manufactured in a small Italian town called Pistoia.
The scalpel, one of the first surgical instruments, has evolved over more than 10 millennia. The physical instruments that surgeons use today began as flint and obsidian cutting instruments during the Stone Age.
As surgery became a profession, knives dedicated to specific uses also evolved. Barbers embellished their scalpels as part of the art of their trade. Later, surgeons appreciated speed and sharpness.
Today’s advances in scalpel technology include additional safety measures and coatings of precious stones and polymers. The instrument par excellence of surgeons, the scalpel is the long-standing symbol of the discipline. Tracking the history of this tool reflects the evolution of surgery as a culture and as a profession.
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