Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 255-256
Shave biopsy instrument: An ergonomic modification of razor blade

Department of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, Government Medical College, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir, India

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Date of Web Publication07-Sep-2020


The razor blade has been used by dermatologists as an alternative tool for performing shave excision and biopsy owing to its superior sharpness and flexibility. It is inexpensive and freely available but the bare blade design carries the risk of accidental injury to the operator and patient. We describe an easy modification of the razor blade for better grip, control, and safety in obtaining cutaneous shave specimens.

Keywords: DermaBlade®, innovation, razor blade, shave biopsy, shave biopsy instrument, surgical pearl

How to cite this article:
Mushtaq S. Shave biopsy instrument: An ergonomic modification of razor blade. J Cutan Aesthet Surg 2020;13:255-6

How to cite this URL:
Mushtaq S. Shave biopsy instrument: An ergonomic modification of razor blade. J Cutan Aesthet Surg [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 May 18];13:255-6. Available from:

Shave excision is a simple and easy procedure usually performed using a scalpel with no. 15 blade. It can also be performed using a razor blade, which is very sharp and provides flexibility to the surgeon.[1] However, a razor blade is difficult to handle and maneuver with bare or gloved hands and carries the risk of accidental injury due to poor grip and inadvertent springing. The razor blade can also be broken to half but due to reduced strength, it is more prone to breakage. Also the practice of using half razor blade has resulted in cutting injuries and is therefore discouraged.[2] Several modifications of the razor blade have been devised to overcome its one or more disadvantages. Harvey and Fenske[3] introduced an adapter-designed version of the razor blade wherein the blade is embedded in a flexible polypropylene plastic polymer. Another biopsy device designed by Yang et al.[4] houses the razor blade within a container, which remains unexposed during the procedure. Both these shave biopsy instruments are not commercially available. DermaBlade® designed by Goldberg et al. is a proprietary product (Personna Medical, Staunton, Virginia) and is the only commercial available shave biopsy instrument. It is, however, not freely available in developing countries besides being uneconomical in resource poor settings. We suggest the use of a shave biopsy instrument, which is a modified version of the razor blade and an inexpensive improvisation of the DermaBlade®.

The plastic needle cover of a 22-guage scalp vein set was cut to match the length of the blunt edges of the razor blade and then cut longitudinally on one side and slid along both the blunt edges. The tube latex of an intravenous infusion set was cut as per the length of the sharp edges and one sharp edge of the blade was inserted into a pocket made out of cutting the tube latex lengthwise [Figure 1]. The cap over the non-sharp edges provides better grip and control to the surgeon and the flexible tube latex covers the unused sharp edge to prevent accidental cut injuries [Figure 2]. The modified shave biopsy instrument so devised retains the inherent properties of a razor blade with the added advantage of better grip, control, and safety. Besides, it can be prepared from readily available source material and can be used as a cheaper alternative to DermaBlade®.
Figure 1: Material used in making of shave biopsy instrument: plastic needle cover of a scalp vein set, tube latex of an intravenous (IV) infusion set, and a razor blade

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Figure 2: Shave biopsy instrument. (A) Better grip, control, and operator comfort. (B) Shave biopsy of seborrheic keratosis

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Shelley WB The razor blade in dermatologic practice. Cutis 1975;16:843-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Field LM Half-blade danger and limitation. Dermatol Surg 2011;37:1067.  Back to cited text no. 2
Harvey DT, Fenske NA The razor blade biopsy technique. Introduction of the adaptor-designed shave biopsy instrument. Dermatol Surg 1995;21:345-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Yang SH, Qi J, Esandrio J, Leung S, Taube JM, Garza LA, et al. Efficacy and tolerability of a novel biopsy device for removing benign epidermal skin lesions. Dermatol Surg 2015;41:1264-73.  Back to cited text no. 4

Correspondence Address:
Sabha Mushtaq
Department of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology, Government Medical College, Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JCAS.JCAS_191_19

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