How to Choose a Scalpel Blade for Your Application
WPI’s disposable scalpels come in many styles and are ideal for students, researchers, and crafters. Here we will describe some of the uses for these popular blades.
Scalpel blades come in a variety of shapes so that you can choose the ones best suited to your application.
The #10 blade is a commonly used blade for surgical applications. It is used for making large incisions through skin and subcutaneous tissues. It is similar to the #20 blade, which is somewhat larger. The #20 blade is used for larger incisions through thicker tissues or for dissection of the soft tissues in larger animals.
Blades #10, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24 are all curved and said to have a "belly." They are all used for making incisions. The sharpest area on these blades is the apex of curve at the belly. This is the spot on the blade which is used for making the incision. Since the #15 is the smallest of these belly blades, it is often used for small animal surgery where short, precise incisions are required. It could also be used to remove skin lesions, perform an organ biopsy or in fine neurological applications. Larger blades like the #22 and #23 are designed for making bigger incisions like those required for a thoracotomy or a laparotomy.
A #11 blade is a triangular blade with a sharp point, also called a stabbing blade. This scalpel is used for making stab-style incisions and short, precision cuts. Often these cuts are made in shallow or recessed areas. For example, it could be used for inserting chest tubes or drains or for making a cut in a blood vessel where you need to insert a catheter.
The #12 blade is curved and is frequently used for removing sutures. It can be used to hook something that's on a stalk.
Crafters will often select the popular #10 and #11 blades. Surgical blades are typically thinner that craft blades, making them more flexible. Some artists recommend choosing straight blades like the #11 for making straight cuts and curved blades like the #10 for making curved cuts.
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