Change-A-Blade handles help reduce the incidence of sharps injuries while complying with requirements from OSHA, AORN and the American College of Surgeons.

Surgical Products readers have chosen Change-A-Blade from Ansell Sandel Medical Solutions as the Readers' Choice product for January/February.

1. How was the idea for the Change-A-Blade® Safety Scalpel Handle developed? What needs were you looking to meet with this product?

Historically, safety scalpels have been unfavorable amongst the surgical community. Due to the inadequate performance of existing safety scalpels, surgeons claim that the use of such devices would alter their current technique. This has led to a lack of acceptance and a lack of safety for the surgical team.

As a result, Ansell Sandel Medical Solutions (ASMS) has developed a revolutionary product to increase safety for the surgical team while maintaining the functionality surgeons demand. Breaking the mold of traditional safety scalpels, the Change-A-Blade is the first Safety Scalpel Handle. It was necessary for ASMS to develop a product that surgeons would actually use.

2. How does the product work?

The Change-A-Blade features a lockable safety shield that easily slides over the blade, while maintaining the ability to fully retract into the scalpel handle. It offers the same weight, feel, visibility and puncture-ability as a traditional #3 handle. The Change-A-Blade also allows surgeons to use their preferred choice of blade and change it as often as needed during a single procedure.

3. What are some of the potential problems with traditional scalpels? How does the Change-A-Blade® address these problems?

There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 sharps injuries incurred annually by healthcare workers in the United States.* These injuries not only have devastating consequences to the individual exposed, but to the facility as well. When an injury occurs, facilities risk OSHA fines, workers' compensation claims, and lost time, productivity and resources.

Several organizations require the use of safety-engineered devices to reduce the occurrence of sharps injuries. OSHA now requires facilities to review, trial, select and use the devices available on the market. Despite these guidelines and regulations, adoption rates remain low in the operating room and facilities continue to be fined for failure to fully implement the required safety devices.

The SANDEL Safety Scalpel Handle helps reduce sharps injuries, and keeps facilities in compliance with the standards set by OSHA, AORN and The American College of Surgeons.

4. What important information should surgeons using these scalpels keep in mind?

The Change-A-Blade is NOT a safety scalpel. It was designed to address the issues surgeons face when using traditional safety scalpels. Essentially, it is a #3 handle with a safety shield—designed for performance!

5. How can using Safety Scalpel Handles help facilities improve patient safety, infection rates and overall efficiency?

It is often said that workplace injuries affecting healthcare professionals have an indirect effect on their patients. When a staff member is protected from these hazards, they are able to provide their patients with the best possible care.

*Centers for Disease Control (CDC)