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I recently came across this article on the use of obsidian scalpels in surgery: How Stone Age blades are still cutting it in modern surgery

obsidian blade vs steel scalpel

Now these scalpels are pretty fragile, with some of them having a thickness of the order of 0.1 mm.

I don't actually plan on operating on someone with this, but all the same, I'd like to identify potential methods to sterilize such a blade.

Knowing how delicate this thing is, I doubt conventional methods (such as autoclaving it) used to sterilize surgical tools could be safely applied in this case.

As the use of obsidian blades in surgery is relatively new, I'm not surprised that I can't find any literature dealing with the sterilization of obsidian blades online.

I did try looking up the structure that obsidian assumes at the molecular level, with the hope that the knowledge would help me narrow down possible sterilization methods I could use here, but I drew a blank there as well.

I have considered subjecting the scalpel to strong dose of UV radiation or perhaps 'cleaning' the scalpel with Povidone-Iodine (Betadine). However, I fear that these methods could possibly weaken the (already delicate) structure of the obsidian.

Would anyone be able to suggest a safe way of sterilizing obsidian scalpels?

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    $\begingroup$ According to the Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, isopropanol does not seem to be an option. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Dec 18 '16 at 8:09
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    $\begingroup$ Herr @Klaus ,I did toy with the idea of using alcohol earlier, since my primary concern was to maintain the integrity of the structure of obsidian, but the link you provided mentions a point I overlooked (alcohol does not have sporocidal action). So Danke for that. Also, I've wanted to ask you this for a while: Why don't you come over to The Periodic Table or the g-block. People would find it easier to reach you that way ;) $\endgroup$ – paracetamol Dec 18 '16 at 8:15
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see why Obsidian shouldn't survive a common autoclave? And here ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8415970 is a paper from 1993, not exactly new. I'm sure you'll find the sterilisation technique in there. $\endgroup$ – Karl Dec 18 '16 at 13:00

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