HOW SURGI LAB’S MANUFACTURING PROCESS GIVES TODAY’S SURGEONS THE EDGE
The secret to the sharpness and consistency of SURGICUT knives is the combination of different processes that together ensure each blade achieves ‘Swiss Excellence’.
Blades and scalpels have been used for surgical procedures for thousands of years. Since the stone age, in fact, when the tools used for incisions were fashioned out of obsidian (volcanic glass). Back then, complications were understandably commonplace. For example, patients with cataracts who trusted someone to enough to operate on them were often blinded through poor workmanship, lack of medical knowledge, and high rates of infection.
Thankfully, as knowledge of ocular anatomy and eye disease improved, so did the approach to eye surgery. Also, the quality of surgical knives, and the abilities of the surgeons who wield them, radically improved. The design and manufacture of surgical knives has evolved dramatically over the last decade. But the needs of surgeons of today are still the same as those who went before them centuries ago – they depend on the blades they use to be safe, sharp and sterile.
The key processes to achieve a sharp ophthalmic knife
Not all surgical knives are manufactured the same way. For example, many ophthalmic blades are stamped, grinded and formed by basic chemical etching. Instead, SURGICUT ophthalmic knives are manufactured through an electronic controlled etching process.
Whereas traditional blades undergo the process of being grinded or stamped to single-bevel shape, we’re using double-bevel technology as default to improve incisional control during cut. Through a very light and controlled electro-polishing, the surface of the blade becomes very smooth but retains its full sharpness. We are certainly not the first company to use etching technology for ophthalmic knives, but we believe we have perfected the methodology through excessive trials and analysis. Through automated process control, every single disposable blade we produce meets the same exacting standard.
No more coating
Applying coating to blades is a common practice in the industry. This coating is intended to make the blade smoother and more resistant to corrosion. However, we believe coating compromises the sharpness of the blade. A blunt blade can lead to tearing on incisions, thereby risking the success of surgical procedures as well as the health of the patient.
Although a few existing knife manufacturers also use etching technology, only precisely implemented algorithms with specially prepared materials achieve the unrivalled sharpness and consistency of SURGICUT knives. Only with this precise and extremely accurate treatment can we make the surface atraumatic by means of a very gentle electropolishing, and thus dispense with subsequent process steps such as coating.
Electropolishing also has a valuable role to play in terms of sanitation. In electropolishing, steel gets an acid bath and then an electrical current is passed through it. According to research, electropolishing has been found to be better at reducing the build-up of bacterial biofilms on steel compared to other processes such as chemical cleansers.¹
From factory to hospital
Because we supply single-use blades, we ensure each blade is produced to the same superior standard, which requires intensive quality control. After each blade is inserted and fixed to the handle, the blade edges are inspected under a microscope. As every single blade will be used on a patient in a hospital setting, no defects can be permitted.
After passing inspection, the knives are sealed within a sterilisation bag and move on to the sterilisation process. Blades are placed into a state-of-the art sterilising machine that is then filled with ethylene oxide gas, the best element for sterilising metal. The knives are sterilised before shipping to ensure they are ready for surgery as soon as they are removed from their wrapping.
Sharper is safer
At SURGI-LAB, we see ourselves as a global company operating according to the principles of ‘Swiss Excellence’, and we apply the highest of standards to every knife we manufacture.
We refuse to compromise on safety and quality, and we expect the same from our suppliers, vendors and distributors. We insist on design and manufacturing elements that actively benefit the user. After all, surgeons need to feel confident they can trust our blades to deliver the best outcomes for their patients, through consistency, sharpness and freedom from errors. Ophthalmic surgery has come a long way, and we’re proud to be leading the way in terms of best practice, innovative design and high-calibre manufacturing processes.