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: There are several anecdotal clinical articles claiming wound healing and scar superiority using obsidian (volcanic glass) scalpels. In order to determine if skin incisions made with obsidian were superior to those made with standard surgical steel, wound tensile strength, scar width, and histology were assessed in 40 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Each rat received two parallel 8-cm dorsal skin incisions, one with an obsidian scalpel and the other with a surgical steel scalpel (no. 15 blade). Data were analyzed by ANOVA.

Tensile strength of the two wound types was not different at 7, 14, 21, and 42 days. Scar width, however, was significantly less in the obsidian wounds at 7, 10, and 14 days (p < 0.005). At 21 days, scar width was not different in the two groups. At 42 days, all wounds were barely detectable, thus precluding scar width analysis. A blinded histologic review suggested that obsidian wounds contained fewer inflammatory cells and less granulation tissue at 7 days. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 92: 884, 1993.)

(C)1993American Society of Plastic Surgeons