A new surgical tool -- the IKEA pencil

December 10, 2010

IKEA pencils are better at marking out cuts in the bone for facial and head surgery than traditional felt tipped pens, say two surgeons in the Christmas issue published in the British Medical Journal today.

Karen Eley, from the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford, and Stephen Watt-Smith, from the Department of Maxillofacial Surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, say that while the popularity of the IKEA is widely known - there is a Facebook page called “Ikea pencil stealing appreciation” – sourcing pencils from IKEA for surgery has surprised doctors.

They say “as popular as these little pencils are, we were still surprised to be handed one halfway through a surgical case … the use of a pencil to mark osteotomy cuts in craniofacial and maxillofacial is well established, proving superior to methylene, Bonney’s blue and felt tipped skin markers that struggle to transfer an ink mark to bone, or are washed away by irrigation or tissue fluids”.

Unfortunately, they say, repeated sterilisation means that some of the pencils split but even this problem has been overcome by wrapping silicon cuffs around the pencil.

Perhaps the designers at IKEA could act on this idea, suggest the authors.

Explore further: IKEA recalls marinated herring

Related Stories

IKEA recalls marinated herring

May 15, 2007

Ikea Systems has announced the recall of Ikea-labeled jars of marinated herring with a Best Before Date of 13-02-2008 or earlier.

Teenager to have giant tumor removed

April 24, 2008

A 15-year-old Vietnamese girl will have surgery in Miami Tuesday to remove a giant tumor that has deformed her face, doctors say.

Making decisions is the third way we learn, research shows

October 11, 2010

Experts have long believed there are two main ways our brains work: cognition, which is thinking or processing information, and affect, which is feeling or emotion. However, a new breakthrough was just made in regard to a ...

For some, laparoscopic technique not always better

December 7, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- If skin is the body’s fortress against germ invaders, shouldn’t minimally invasive surgeries – operations guided by camera probes, conducted entirely within the abdomen – carry less risk ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nanolouizos
5 / 5 (1) Dec 10, 2010
Seems like a good idea. We have been using markers for varicose veins surgery. Maybe we should try the IKEA pencil.....

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.