IKEA pencils a hit with oral and maxillofacial surgeons

The tiny pencils that IKEA puts out for shoppers to use when ordering products while wandering the store's aisles have found an interesting and unintended use among oral and maxillofacial surgeons, according to an article in the British Medical Journal (December 9, 2010).

The IKEA pencils -- or rather, the stealing of them -- have already become somewhat of an Internet sensation, according to Karen Eley, a research fellow at University of Oxford, and Stephen Watt-Smith, a consultant with Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust. A Facebook page entitled "IKEA pencil stealing appreciation" claims more than 55,000 members, and YouTube has over 60 videos dedicated to the things people do with the little brown pencils they pocket during shopping visits, Eley and Watt-Smith noted.

The pencils have also become popular for marking osteotomy cuts in craniofacial and maxillofacial surgery, they added.

"Sterilization, originally achieved with 18 hours of dry heat, is now performed by autoclaving, making a pocketful of IKEA pencils from one shopping visit last for many months­," they wrote.

However, because repeated sterilization is hard on the pencils, Eley and Watt-Smith suggest wrapping silicon cuffs around the pencils prior to autoclaving.

Copyright © 2010 DrBicuspid.com

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