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A scalpel is an extremely sharp bladed instrument used for a number of things, most notably surgery. Scalpels can be formed out of materials such as stainless steel, diamond, titanium, obsidian or ceramic.

In a medical setting disposable scalpels are used, often with a blade only being used once per cut. In the past medical professionals have had to endure accidental cuts and injuries while handling a scalpel however newer developments have offered instead a retractable blade for when the scalpel is not in use.

With regards to a vasectomy, the traditional method of performing this operation is with a scalpel. This is not as widely practiced as safer and easier methods have been adopted instead. During a traditional scalpel procedure, the vas deferens is cut and sealed via some other means, for example, cauterization. This procedure means that stitches are required which in itself can lead to an uncomfortable and slow recovery compared to more modern techniques. A scalpel method also carries with it an increased likelihood of bleeding and complications. Despite the safety preferences, the effectiveness of both the traditional and more modern techniques appear to be exactly the same.