Company Blogs

Preventing Scalpel Injuries: Innovative Solutions for Healthcare Safety

February 14, 2024

The risk of sharp instrument injuries is pronounced in the high-stakes environment of healthcare, where precision and efficiency are paramount. These injuries not only pose a threat to the well-being of healthcare workers but also jeopardize patient safety. As stewards of health and safety, it's imperative to address this issue and explore proactive measures to mitigate the risks associated with scalpel injuries.

Scalpel injuries represent a significant concern within healthcare settings, with statistics indicating their prevalence across various medical facilities. According to data from the Exposure Prevention Information Network (EPINet), operating rooms account for a staggering 35.5% of all sharps injuries, making them the highest category of risk. Within this environment, surgical assistants, nurses, physicians, and surgical technologists are particularly vulnerable, with a substantial portion of injuries occurring during the intricate coordination of procedures.

Comparatively, while needlestick injuries represent a notable concern, particularly within healthcare environments, their occurrence is relatively less frequent in operating rooms, constituting approximately 17% of all sharps injuries, according to EPINet data. Scalpel blade injuries rank among the top five common types of sharps injuries, trailing closely behind needlestick injuries in prevalence. However, the incidence rate of scalpel blade injuries in operating rooms paints a stark picture: with approximately 662 incidents per 100,000 scalpels used (Stoker and Davis, 2015), this type of injury far surpasses the incidence rate of needlestick injuries, which stands at a mere 3.2 incidents per 100,000 loose needle (EPINet Report, 2009).

Scalpel injuries, categorized as percutaneous, carry substantial risks, especially when contaminated with a patient's blood. The potential transmission of bloodborne pathogens such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV underscores the gravity of the situation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 3 million healthcare workers experience percutaneous exposure to bloodborne pathogens each year globally, leading to 2 million Hepatitis B infections, 0.9 million Hepatitis C infections, and 170,000 HIV infections among healthcare workers.

The Human Toll: Impact on Healthcare Workers and Patients

Scalpel injuries exact a toll not only on the individuals directly affected but also on the broader healthcare ecosystem. For healthcare workers, these injuries can lead to physical harm, emotional distress, and financial burdens. The psychological impact of such incidents, coupled with the potential for long-term health consequences due to bloodborne pathogen exposure, underscore the urgency of addressing this occupational hazard.

Moreover, according to Center for Disease Control (CDC), patients are not immune to the repercussions of scalpel injuries. In cases where contaminated instruments are inadvertently used during procedures, there exists a grave risk of healthcare-associated infections, compromising patient safety and well-being. For example, a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection highlighted cases where patients contracted infections such as MRSA and Staphylococcus aureus due to contaminated surgical instruments.

The strain on the healthcare system due to scalpel injuries is significant. In addition to the direct costs associated with treating injuries and infections, there are indirect costs such as lost productivity, absenteeism, and potential litigation. According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the estimated annual cost of sharp injuries in the United States alone exceeds $1 billion, placing a substantial burden on healthcare institutions and insurers.

Scalpel Injuries: Economic Impact and Healthcare Burden

Scalpel injuries, in particular, have significant economic implications. An uncomplicated injury can cost between USD 500 – USD 3000, while a complicated injury requiring surgery can cost as much as USD 100,000 (Stoker and Davis, 2015). These costs extend beyond immediate medical expenses, as injuries involving bloodborne pathogens entail a lifetime continuing costs for treatment.

Additionally, the prevalence of sharps injuries contributes to the overall burden on the healthcare system. It is estimated that in hospitals alone, “385,000 sharps injuries occur each year” (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2008), “with half of those injuries going unreported” (CDC NORA 2019). These statistics underscore the urgent need for innovative solutions to mitigate the risks associated with scalpel use.

Prevention Strategies: A Holistic Approach

Effectively addressing the risk of scalpel injuries requires a holistic approach encompassing education, training, policy implementation, and technological innovation. At the forefront of prevention efforts are strategies aimed at minimizing the occurrence of injuries during critical phases of surgical procedures.

Usage Phase:

Encouraging the use of alternative methods where feasible, such as blunt-tip scissors and electrocautery devices, can mitigate the risk posed by sharp scalpel blades. Additionally, substituting sharp-tip blades with round-tip variants where feasible enhances safety without compromising surgical efficacy.

Passing and Disposal: 

Implementing hands-free passing techniques and designating neutral zones for instrument placement reduce the likelihood of inadvertent injuries during interventional exchanges. Furthermore, the adoption of safety-engineered devices, such as the Qlicksmart BladeFlask, offers an innovative solution for safe scalpel blade removal and containment.

Training and Policy Development: 

Robust training programs focusing on proper blade handling and disposal protocols are essential in fostering a culture of safety among healthcare professionals. Concurrently, the development and enforcement of comprehensive policies underscore the organization's commitment to mitigating scalpel injury risks and promoting a safe working environment.

Introducing Qlicksmart BladeFlask: Redefining Scalpel Safety

Clinical data suggests that “40% of sharps injuries occur after use and prior to disposal of a sharps device” (CDC Sharp Safety, 2008). However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 62%-88% of sharps injuries can be prevented simply by using safer medical devices (OSHA).

As a pioneer in medical supply innovation, MYCO is proud to introduce the Qlicksmart BladeFlask —an evolution in scalpel safety designed to address the unique challenges associated with blade removal and containment. You can read an independent 3rd-party evaluation of the BladeFlask at This state-of-the-art device offers unparalleled features and benefits, including:

OSHA Compliance: 

The Qlicksmart BladeFlask is fully compliant with OSHA regulations, offering single-handed activation for safe scalpel blade removal when used with the reusable Mounting Bracket.

Audible Safety Indicator

With an audible "QLICK™" sound upon safe blade removal and containment, the BladeFlask provides tangible assurance of user safety.

Built-in Counter: 

Equipped with a built-in counter that automatically shuts off when maximum capacity is reached, the Qlicksmart BladeFlask ensures optimal blade containment efficiency.

Universal Compatibility:

Compatible with a wide range of scalpel handles and blades, including large autopsy scalpels, circular handles, and hexagonal handles, the Qlicksmart BladeFlask offers versatility without compromising safety.

Furthermore, the Qlicksmart BladeFlask introduces additional features to further bolster its utility and versatility:

Multiple Fitment Handle Compatibility: 

The BladeFlask seamlessly accommodates multiple types of #3 and #4 fitment handles, adhering to international manufacturing standards. This includes an extensive range of handles such as large autopsy scalpels, hexagonal, Barron, bulbous, thick and round handles, as well as the latest ergonomic handles, granting users greater flexibility in selecting the appropriate scalpel for their needs.

Specialty Blade Compatibility: 

In addition to standard scalpel blades, the Qlicksmart BladeFlask also supports specialty blades such as #60 and #70, catering to a diverse range of procedural requirements.

Single-Handed Operation:

Designed for simplicity and efficiency, the BladeFlask enables single-handed blade removal, streamlining workflow processes and enhancing user convenience.

Puncture-Proof Construction: 

Tested to meet United Nations Transport Requirements for Dangerous Goods, the BladeFlask boasts puncture-proof durability, ensuring robust protection against potential hazards.

By harnessing the power of passive-safety engineering, the Qlicksmart BladeFlask emerges as a formidable ally in the fight against scalpel injuries with an approach that prioritizes simplicity and effectiveness, providing healthcare professionals with a seamless solution to enhance workplace safety and reduce the risk of occupational injuries.

Advancing Scalpel Safety Through Innovation

The prevalence of scalpel injuries in healthcare settings underscores the urgent need for proactive intervention and innovative solutions. Through a concerted effort encompassing education, training, policy development, and technological innovation, healthcare organizations can effectively mitigate the risks associated with scalpel use, safeguarding the well-being of both healthcare professionals and patients alike.

At MYCO, we remain committed to advancing scalpel safety through cutting-edge solutions such as the Qlicksmart BladeFlask, empowering healthcare professionals to perform their vital work with confidence and peace of mind. Together, let us embrace a future where scalpel injuries are a relic of the past, replaced by a culture of safety, innovation, and excellence in patient care.

Get Sharp Safety Products from MYCO Medical

MYCO Medical is a premier provider of top-tier medical devices and disposables for healthcare institutions across the United States and Canada. With a proud certification as a diversity supplier by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), we have been steadfastly committed to delivering excellence since our inception in 1993.

At MYCO Medical, we share your commitment to providing optimal patient care by offering a comprehensive array of medical supplies tailored to meet the unique needs of your practice. 

Explore our comprehensive Sharps Safety products it is designed with intuitive features, they ensure the safe handling and disposal of blades, needles, and other sharp or hazardous materials, all while meeting rigorous Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards or contact our sales team today and receive a free complimentary sample and quote for our most popular products.


Subscribe to our Newsletter
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.