Scalpel blades are usually individually packed in sterile pouches
but are also offered non-sterile. Double-edged scalpels are referred
to as "lancets". Scalpel blades are usually made of hardened and
tempered steel, stainless steel, or high carbon steel; in addition,
titanium, ceramic, diamond and even obsidian knives are not
For example, when
performing surgery under MRI guidance, steel blades are unusable
(the blades would be drawn to the magnets) or may cause image
Scalpel blades are also
offered by select manufacturers with a Zirconium Nitride coated edge
to improve sharpness and edge retention. Others manufacture blades
that are polymer coated to enhance lubricity during a cut.
Alternatives to scalpels in surgical applications include
electrocautery and lasers.