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MonJan 16

National Without a Scalpel Day – January 16, 2023

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

500 B.C.
Early Use of Scalpels

Greeks perform procedures using scalpels.

2100 B.C.
Primitive Scalpels

Obsidian scalpels are used in Bronze Age settlement Turkey.

1915
The Scalpel is Tweaked

Morgan Parker makes a two-piece scalpel while Charles Bard sterilizes the blades.

1977
First Angioplasty in Switzerland

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Watch documentaries

    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

  1. They also have other names

    Scalpels are also known as lancets (double-edged scalpels) or bistouries.

  2. 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.

  3. They have use-types

    They may be single-use disposable or reusable.

  4. Historically relevant to Egyptians

    Ancient Egyptians made incisions for embalming with scalpels of sharpened obsidian.

  5. They are versatile

    Besides medical uses, scalpels are functional in various arts and crafts.

Why National Without a Scalpel Day is Important

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

YearDateDay
2023January 16Monday
2024January 16Tuesday
2025January 16Thursday
2026January 16Friday
2027January 16Saturday

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