• We studied excision of burns with a new heated scalpel. The disposable blades resemble conventional scalpel blades, except that their edges can be heated and the temperature controlled within narrow limits. The control mechanism compensates "instantaneously" for varying losses of heat depending on the vascularity of the tissues and rate of cutting. Cutting is done by the blade's sharp edge and hemostasis results from direct transfer of heat; no electric currents are generated in the tissues. The blades can be fashioned in a variety of shapes and sizes, including those suitable for tangential excisions. The heated scalpel allows excision of third-degree burns in pigs and humans with much smaller loss of blood than when the usual cold surgical scalpel is used. Skin grafts applied immediately after excisions with the heated scalpel had excellent rates of success, similar to those of grafts applied immediately after excisions with the cold scalpel.
(Arch Surg 1982;117:213-220)