Archive May 2019 XX, No. 5

Thumbs Up on Safety Scalpels

Our reader survey finds more surgeons are using them - but many still refuse to convert.

Dan O

Dan O'Connor, Editor-in-Chief


Pamela Bevelhymer, RN, BSN, CNOR
MAKING THE CUT Some surgeons complain that safety scalpels do not have the correct feel, quality or precision of standard scalpels.

Surgeons have a love-loathe relationship with safety scalpels. On the one hand, more surgeons are using scalpels with retractable or otherwise protected blades today than they were 5 years ago — sometimes by choice, sometimes by, ahem, your clever coercion. Whatever the reason, our readers report safety scalpel usage has increased by more than 25% since 2015. On the other hand, a good number of surgeons still view safety scalpels with great disdain, refusing to use them, resisting to even trial them.

"I would suggest half like them and would rather be practicing safely. The other half dislike anything new and think the blades dull sooner than the others," says Jolene Johnson, MSN, RN, program director of the Advanced Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Warren (Pa.) General Hospital.

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