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Article
June 23, 1917

STERILIZATION OF SURGEONS' KNIVES AND SCISSORS BY HEATING IN LIQUID PETROLATUM

Author Affiliations

Boston

From the Huntington Memorial Hospital.

JAMA. 1917;LXVIII(25):1907-1908. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.04270060315019

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Abstract

The subject of properly sterilizing knives and scissors has always given the surgeon more or less trouble. Boiling water or 70 per cent. alcohol, if applied long enough to be effective, inevitably destroys the edge, while the instruments so treated have a strong tendency to rust. It has been my practice for some time to sterilize needles which were to be used for drawing blood, by heating them in liquid petrolatum at 120 C. for twenty minutes. The needles may then be left for an indefinite length of time without danger of rusting, and are moreover coated with a film of oil which tends to prevent clotting. I soon noticed that needles so treated were peculiarly sharp and could be used and resterilized many times without losing their points. It occurred to me that the same method might well be employed on the scalpel and scissors of the surgeon with

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