Abstract The Shaw scalpel ® was used in seven radical operations for oral cancer. The amount of bleeding and postoperative exudate and the occurrence of postoperative complications were compared with that from 12 operations performed with the conventional steel scalpel. The blood loss during the radical neck dissection performed with the Shaw scalpel was 39% of the control value, and no blood transfusions were necessary. There was no increase in the amount of postoperative exudate in the Shaw scalpel group compared with the control group. Skin incision with the Shaw scalpel was accompanied by superficial wound dehiscences in three patients, which healed without any treatment.