The Scalpel in Ancient TimesThe modern word "scalpel" is derived from the Latin "scalpels", a term that arose during the height of Roman surgical knowledge and skill. The Romans excelled in the production of blades. surgical scalpel handles Combined with their high level of education, it was only natural that they would refine the instrument as well as how it's used. Borrowing extensively from each other's knowledge and experience, together the Romans and Greeks reached a zenith of medical prowess that would remain unmatched for centuries.
Early Egyptian surgical instruments.The first known description of a surgical knife comes from the great Greek physician Hippocrates, but evidence of the use of blades in medicine has been found from as far back as the Mesolithic period about 10,000 years ago. And the modern scalpel isn't really all that different from the "macaron" that Hippocrates described. The fundamental features - a handle, a cutting blade on a single edge, and a sharp, straight point at the end - remain unchanged. While the appearance of the scalpel has changed remarkably little in over 10 millennia of use, what has evolved tremendously is the way that modern medicine uses this simple but powerful tool. The practice of medicine in ancient times was, for lack of a better word, barbaric. A poor understanding of anatomy and biology led to people to make wild guesses as to what caused ailments, and how to treat them. The earliest known attempts at surgery involved using flint knives to bores holes into the skull, believing that this would release evil spirits. Even just a few centuries ago during the Dark Ages, "blood-letting" was a common medical practice. Thankfully, today the scalpel is used much more conservatively. The surgical scalpel as we know it today was invented by the Bard-Parker Company and patented in 1915. surgical scalpel handle It features a specialized handle with an interchangeable blade made from modern stainless steel alloys, a concept that was inspired by the disposable shaving blades developed by King Gillette in the early 1900s. In 1910 Dr. John B. Murphy of Chicago perfected the specialized handle, and in 1914 Morgan Parker made the combination technically efficient when he found an ideal way to join the blade & the handle. Over the following decades, there have been additional adaptations and refinements, but the specialized handle and disposable blade design that was perfected nearly a century ago remain largely unchanged. Today, the scalpel is a highly standardized medical instrument. The handles (often called "B.P. handles" after the Bard-Parker Company) are reusable, but the blades are only used once and then replaced. There are a variety of different blades, with a standard shape and specific use. For example, a No. 11 Blade has a triangular shape while a No. 12 blade has a curved, crescent-shaped. There are now dozens of different standard blades in use in modern surgery