Novel Ergonomic Scalpel Handle

Alleviate and prevent occupational stresses using this novel scalpel design.

The Need

A highly unfortunate outcome of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic is the over 400,000 American deaths that have unexpectedly overloaded medical autopsy services across the United States. With this heightened need for autopsy services previously unseen occupational hazards relating to repetitive motions have emerged. This occupational strain has provided new perspective for implementing ergonomic practices in dissection services. Specifically, the repeated use of a scalpel blade across thick and/or tough tissue can easily lead to chronic injury. Fatigue, pain, and consequently, immobility in the thumb and hand area are common consequences of this occupational hazard. New scalpel handle designs and methods of using the same are needed for safely performing repeated autopsy and other dissection services.

The Technology

Clinical Laboratory Manager at The Ohio State University, Jennifer Sachire, has designed a novel, ergonomic scalpel blade handle for safely performing repeated autopsy and dissection services. The design removes the thumb from the cutting process and redistributes across the hand the force needed to cut through tough or thick tissue. Without compromising precision of the cut, the “Knuckle Knife” introduces a whole new grip style of the scalpel blade. A traditional grip requires the thumb to forcefully engage the scalpel handle by pinching the handle between the thumb and index finger. The Knuckle Knife grip repositions the scalpel handle from a pinched position between the thumb and index finger to a guided position between the index and middle finger. Instead of traversing fatigued thenar muscles (thumb muscles), the body of the scalpel handle longitudinally traverses the entire palm. The force exerted for cutting is no longer isolated to the thenar muscle group, but rather, is distributed across the whole hand, wrist, and distal arm.


  • Readily adaptable to existing blades
  • Alleviates existing occupational injury
  • Prevents future occupational injury
  • Maintains precision while

Commercial Applications

  • Autopsy services
  • Medical Examiner services
  • Coroner services
  • Anatomy dissection programs
  • Educational programs
  • Large animal veterinary medicine

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