Wound Healing and the Shaw Scalpel

Donna J. Millay, Ted A. Cook, Robert E. Brummett, Edward L. Nelson, Patricia L. O'neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-285
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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