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Keywords:

  • gross anatomy education;
  • gross anatomy laboratory;
  • scalpel;
  • scalpel safety;
  • blade mounting;
  • blade removal;
  • laboratory safety;
  • injury prevention;
  • cadaver dissection;
  • surgery

Scalpels are utilized by many different user groups for such purposes as medical procedures and dissection. Injuries caused by scalpels are a potential risk for scalpel users, and include injuries that may occur while mounting and removing the scalpel blade. Between 10% and 20% of all scalpel injuries in education and healthcare settings are reported to occur while scalpel blades are being mounted or removed. At present there are few published or “best practice” demonstrations of safe technique for scalpel blade mounting and removal. This brief article outlines a variation of the procedure for scalpel blade mounting and removal. It includes strategies developed to minimize risk or injury for the scalpel user, including providing a stable base for the hands and arms so as to prevent unnecessary large amplitude movements that may lead to injury of the scalpel user or a third party. Such a technique may promote scalpel safety, contribute to the development of “best practice” scalpel use, and help decrease injuries that may be caused while mounting or removing scalpel blades. Anat Sci Educ 7: 161–166. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.