How to Replace a Scalpel Blade

Updated April 17, 2017

Scalpels are commonly used in the medical profession and by hobbyists. Replacing the blades must be done with care and respect for the damage they can cause. The blade is specific to the particular number and type of scalpel. Make sure you have the right combination so the blade fits the handle correctly. It is especially important in the medical profession to handle scalpel blades with care to avoid exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Sharps containers, as of 2010, are designed specifically to facilitate removing a scalpel blade one-handed. Never use fingers to replace the blades.

Grasp the handle of the scalpel with one hand and the forceps or needle nose pliers with the other hand.

Grip the part of the blade held down by the safety tab with the forceps or needle nose pliers and very carefully pry the blade up, sliding it off the safety tab and handle.

Peel the ends of the package holding the replacement blade apart at the end that slides onto the handle; do not remove the package from the blade end.

Hold the blade end with the forceps or needle nose pliers, and carefully slide the blade onto the handle until it snaps in place.

Turn the section of the handle that holds the blade into the scalpel to loosen the grip holding the blade in place.

Grasp the blade with forceps or needle nose pliers.

Pull the blade from the handle, and dispose of it in an appropriate container.

Pick up the replacement blade with the forceps or needle nose pliers, and place the non-blade end into the handle.

Turn the handle to tighten it and hold the blade in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Replacement scalpel blade
  • Forceps (optional)
  • Needle nose pliers (optional)
  • Sharps container with scalpel blade remover capability (optional)
  • Sharps container (optional)
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About the Author

Heather Lindsay is a stained glass artist who holds a master's degree in library science, a bachelor's degree in anthropology with a minor in art, and has enjoyed working in special libraries with photograph collections.