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March 1987

Wound Healing and the Shaw Scalpel

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University (Drs Millay, Cook, and Brummett and Mr Nelson), and the Department of Biology, Portland State University (Dr O'Neill), Portland, Ore.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1987;113(3):282-285. doi:10.1001/archotol.1987.01860030058007

• The Shaw heated scalpel is now widely used in head and neck surgery because it provides better hemostasis intraoperatively. Concerns persist over the immediate and long-term effects of this instrument on wound healing. This study compares heated and unheated Shaw scalpel incisions in the skin of 7-week-old piglets. Tensile strength measurements and histologic evaluations were made at frequent intervals up to nine weeks after incision. Histologic studies showed no differences in the two groups at any time in the study. Tensile strength of wounds was significantly less two weeks after incision in the Shaw scalpel group, but following that time, the wounds increased in strength, and by seven weeks, the two groups were equal in this respect. Thus, we conclude that the Shaw scalpel wounds in pigs are, ultimately, similar to standard scalpel wounds, although there is a period of diminished tensile strength.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 1987;113:282-285)

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