"...yeowtch! using a regular knife, or an
ordinary x-acto blade is a bad thing..."
Wrong, see below.
"...knife blades are *rarely* sharp enough
to make a clean painless cut..."
Wrong, see below.
"...x-acto blades are the same way, and
nick easily NEVER use a box-cutter blade, they're often oiled to prevent
rusting, and that's a bad thing in an open wound..."
True, oil is a bad thing to be putting into a wound. But that's just common
"...Surgical blades you buy this way are
sterile, *surgically* sharp..."
And the reasons for my putting "wrong" above:
"Surgically sharp" and "surgical steel" are both, in
a word, bollox. Do you know how they make scalpels? They're pressed out of
a stainless steel alloy called 420J2 or 420H (pretty much the same alloy,
variances in makeup I won't go into here), the blade is then polished on a
buffer, packed,and irradiated. Like all mass-produced blades, they're much
poorer quality than the salesmen would have you believe, in reality they're
very cheaply made out of the lowest quality grade steel with minimal attention
to detail. The reason for their sharpness is due to the thin cross-sectional
geometry and nothing else.
"Classic" disposable razor blades and industrial razor blades are
made in exactly the same way. Same process, same steel, same amount of quality
control. The only difference is the lack of sterilisation, which you can do
yourself the old fashioned low-tech way.
Knife blades (and straight razors) however, can be sharpened to exactly the
same degree of sharpness is you know what you're doing, are made out of much
better steel if you know what you're buying, are far more aesthetically pleasing
and of course can be used for other purposes than blood letting.
As for "less scarring", sorry to break it to you but the sharpness
of the knife has virtually nothing to do with scarring. It's a fact that a
less than adequately sharpened knife can have "micro-serrations",
but those can not be seen without the aid of a microscope and the actual difference
between a cut with a polished blade and an unpolished blade as far as "ragged
edges" of the wound itself goes is so small you can't tell the difference.
Scarring is created by (or influenced by) other factors: length of the cut.
Depth of the cut. Placement of the cut. And to a lesser extent, genetics and
aftercare. With most people, a light scratch with any instrument whether it
be a cat's claw, a surgical scalpel, or a good old pocket knife, will not
result in scarring. A cut that goes down to the bone, whether it's made by
a (big) cat's scratch, a surgical scalpel, a hunting knife, or a broadsword,
will scar. Some people are genetically predisposed to scar more easily than
others. What heals perfectly for one person may leave a small scar for others.
What leaves a small scar for one person may keloid another. [keloid
info @ eMedicine] And of course aftercare. Is the wound just left
alone? Then if it's a deep one, the chances are it'll scar, how badly depends
on length, depth, and genetics. If it's patched up, that'll reduce the chances
of it scarring. If it's stitched up, that'll reduce the chances of it scarring
even more. I've heard Vitamin E applied to the wound as part of the healing
process also reduces the chances, but I've never tried it myself.
So let's talk personal numbers here. I've been cut so many times I couldn't
count. Over a thousand times, without a doubt (this figure includes everything
apart from paper cuts which I've never heard of scarring). Conversely, I have
less than a hundred scars on my body, and these were caused by everything
from "surgically sharp scalpels", various types of pocket and sheath
knives (steel blades, ceramic blades, titanium/steel alloy blades) industrial
razor blades, old fashioned disposable razor blades, a serrated kitchen knife,
and a chainsaw blade (fortunately, the chainsaw wasn't running at the time
<g>). You know why they scarred? Length and depth of cut. Genetics (I
scar pretty easily t'be honest). Aftercare (or lack thereof: I generally don't
even use antibacterial wipes or patch the wound up. Just let it scab over
and/or scar as it will).
Any cut made with any blade can scar in theory. Using a "surgically
sharp scalpel" has *zero* impact on whether it scars or not.
"...the advantages of a surgical blade include:
cleaner cuts, faster healing, near-painless cutting, less scarring, and
much lower risk of infection. I HIGHLY recommend the use of them..."
So let's talk infection.
See above re: numbers of cuts and numbers of scars. See above about aftercare.
You know how many infected cuts I've had? None. I've bled so badly at times
that I've a) Been unable to walk unaided, b) Ruined a sofa and three matresses
plus uncounted sheets/clothing items c) Could see my ribcage once I'd stopped
the bleeding and had a look.
Infection comes from contaminants in the wound. The reason the platelets
flock to the wound is to seal it of from possible infections. The reason scabs
are formed are twofold - firstly they seal the wound from inspection, secondly
they cover the wound with a solid surface to allow the skin to repair itself.
As long as you don't rub grease or dirt into the wound, and allow the scab
to form, you won't get infections. Simple as that.
You're more likely to get an infection after surgery in a hospital than you
are to get an infection from a blood letting session. What does that tell
you about "surgical cleanliness"? Yes, I know that's a slightly
disingenuous argument due to the relative complexity of surgery as compared
to blood letting. But OTOH, the most basic difference between cuts made in
surgical procedures and ones made at home are? Length of cut. Depth of cut.
Those two same basic things again. The aftercare is also an important point.
Hospitals are well-known breeding grounds for all sorts of really nasty bacteria.
But anyway, that's my viewpoint. Note: I am not a doctor, a nurse, a bladesmith,
or a metallurgist. But I know a fair bit about all of those subjects and have
an intense dislike of scare-mongering and this is the only way" attitudes.
There are a lot of different ways to get blood out of a body, and when it
comes to cutting, a surgical scalpel is no better or worse than any sufficiently
well-made, well-polished blade.
The other subject I didn't touch upon was pain, but I think a thousand words
in that last post was enough typing for the day. Suffice to say that again,
as long as you're using a well-made and sharpened blade, the difference between
that and a "surgically sharp" scalpel is again so small as makes
Obviously a blunt blade is much harder to cut with and would hurt more, and
serrated knives are very nasty weapons and should never be taken to a donor.
But again, pain comes down to length of cut, depth of cut, and placement.
Some skin is far more sensitive than other parts, and that makes a much larger
difference than what piece of steel you're cutting with.
Also, it's been my experience that a cut is a cut is a cut within limits.
It's what's done to the skin/area around the wound/the wound itself a) before
feeding, b) during feeding, and c) after feeding that can create or lessen
the pain on a far greater level than the cut itself.
But on this subject, what would I know? I've only played donor to five vampires
on over a hundred occasions, and played with a dozen or so sadists with far
more than just blades, teeth, and claws in their toolbox [insert eye-rolling