We observe National Without a Scalpel Day on January 16 of every year. The day celebrates the first time an angioplasty – a surgical operation to clear a narrowed or blocked artery – was performed without a scalpel and goes on to further serve the purpose of spreading the word about the minimally invasive procedures that make surgery much better and safer!
History of National Without a Scalpel Day
Surgery and scalpels were inseparable partners in rescue missions for centuries. Before the arrival of scalpel-like instruments, the primitive tools that were used on the human body included shark teeth, bamboo shoots, and surprisingly fingernails!
In 1964, Charles T. Dotter performed the first peripheral angioplasty without a scalpel, instead of using X-ray technology and a small pinhole imaging device to see inside the body while performing the treatment. This procedure has become known as interventional radiology. Not only did the angioplasty allow the patient to avoid leg amputation surgery, but she left the hospital days later with only a bandage.
Dr. Dotter’s innovation was the stepping stone to a new branch in the medical field known as MIIP (minimally invasive, image-guided procedures). Today, MIIP can be used in diagnosing and treating a broad range of ailments throughout the body, including stroke, aneurysms, fibroids, back pain, among others.
It is superior to invasive surgeries in almost every aspect. The imaging techniques eliminate guesswork and guide the surgeon to the operation site. The wounds at the surgical site are also minimal and reduce the chances of infection and scarring.
National Without a Scalpel Day was proposed by the Interventional Initiative in 2005 to create awareness about the revolutionary MIIP, thereby enabling people to make better-informed healthcare decisions.
National Without a Scalpel Day timeline
Greeks perform procedures using scalpels.
Obsidian scalpels are used in Bronze Age settlement Turkey.
Morgan Parker makes a two-piece scalpel while Charles Bard sterilizes the blades.
Dr. A. Gruentzig and Dr. R. Myler perform it with a minimally invasive technique.
National Without a Scalpel Day FAQs
Is a scalpel sharper than a razor?
Yes, a surgical scalpel is way sharper than a straight razor and almost as sharp as many of the honed D.E. blades.
How are you supposed to hold a scalpel?
The scalpel is held in-between the thumb and the middle finger — holding both sides of the scalpel near the blade. The index finger supports the axis blade giving a good grip and better control over the scalpel.
Can a scalpel cut through bone?
The Misonix BoneScalpel can cut through bone without injuring the soft tissues nearby. It uses ultrasonic frequency waves to cut through bone just as a scalpel would cut through soft tissue.
How to Observe National Without a Scalpel Day
Donate to related programs
It is a good day to add your monetary contribution to educate and inform the public about the value of MIIPs. The Interventional Initiative is one of the non-profits you can send your donations to. They provide resources for sensitization through multimedia and social media initiatives.
Spread the word about MIIP
Directly educate your friends and family regarding the various minimally invasive treatment options that are available. It will help them make better and safer decisions in their hours of need.
Check out some of the documentaries related to the reduced use of surgical blades in treatment. These documentaries contain real-life stories of patients and doctors who opted for the life-changing procedure, MIIP.
5 Facts About Scalpels That Will Interest You
They also have other names
Scalpels are also known as lancets (double-edged scalpels) or bistouries.
Different materials are used to make them
Historically, the preferred material for surgical scalpels was silver, and their present-age blades are made out of hardened and tempered steel, stainless steel, or high carbon steel.
They have use-types
They may be single-use disposable or reusable.
Historically relevant to Egyptians
Ancient Egyptians made incisions for embalming with scalpels of sharpened obsidian.
They are versatile
Besides medical uses, scalpels are functional in various arts and crafts.
Why National Without a Scalpel Day is Important
Helps us make better medical decisions
This day sensitizes us to the other available options for surgery. The knowledge gained in turn helps us choose wisely should we have any reason to be treated.
Honors those who are innovating
The day highlights those who invented MIIP and those who continue to advance these medical procedures making them more efficient. It helps the general public to know just how valuable they are.
Encourages medical innovators to keep improving
With innovators celebrated on this day, they will be motivated to keep getting better at their work. It will ultimately benefit everyone.
National Without a Scalpel Day dates