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New Scalpel Passes the Test

  1. 117 Posts.

    HOMEX - Brisbane

    A surgical scalpel designed by a Brisbane based biomedical company
    has been trialed for the first time during an operation at the
    Princess Alexandra Hospital and the instrument has been hailed a
    success and a breakthrough in safety standards.

    The Occupational & Medical Innovations Ltd (OMI) designed scalpel was
    used by renowned Queensland surgeon, Professor Russell Strong when he
    operated on a patient undergoing abdominal surgery.

    "The main difference between conventional scalpels and this design is
    in the safety features," Professor Strong said.

    The OMI scalpel blade is encased in a protective sheath and can be
    attached to either a plastic of a traditional stainless steel handle.
    The safety sheath slides down when the scalpel is being used, but
    then slides back to cover the blade when not in use.

    "The OMI scalpel can be rendered completely safe, which is very
    important in an operating theatre. Injuries can occur when scalpel
    blades are applied or removed from handles or simply when the
    instrument is being handled during an operation," Professor Strong

    "Anything that leads to a safer working environment is a good thing."

    Professor Strong knows just how dangerous scalpels can be. Several
    years ago, he sustained a deep cut to his hand, which severed a
    nerve, when a scalpel was mishandled in surgery. He said nursing
    staff in the operating theatre during the trial of the OMI scalpel
    were also very impressed with the safety features.

    Bruce Kiehne, the Managing Director of OMI said the inspiration for
    the safety scalpel came from a television show.

    "In this particular episode, one of the doctors was badly cut by a
    scalpel and my wife said there must be a way to prevent that from
    happening, so I started designing an instrument that would be as
    close as possible to a normal scalpel in weight, feel and appearance,
    but much safer," Mr Kiehne said.

    "The prototype was developed and modified with input from leading
    doctors. Now we have an instrument, which is a Queensland invention,
    with the potential to reduce scalpel related injuries for health
    workers around the world."

    It also has the potential to be a lucrative venture for the Logan
    based company. The worldwide market for scalpels is conservatively
    estimated at 1 billion units per year.

    OMI has recently signed an agreement with a Shanghai based
    pharmaceutical equipment manufacturer, to produce commercial
    quantities of the safety scalpel. The scalpels will be delivered
    within six weeks and OMI then hopes to have the instrument used in
    Australian hospitals.

    D Jenkins

    NOTE: Betacam footage of Prof, Strong using the OMI safety scalpel in
    surgery is available.
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