National Without a Scalpel Day | January 16
(Last Updated On: January 10, 2023)


Each year on National Without a Scalpel Day January 16th recognizes the opportunities to treat disease without a scalpel. On this day in 1964, pioneering physician Charles Dotter performed the first angioplasty. The ground-breaking procedure to open a blocked blood vessel took place in Portland, Oregon. Not only did the angioplasty allow the patient to avoid leg amputation surgery, but she left the hospital days later with only a Band-Aid.


No surgery, no stitches, no scars…

In doing so, Dr. Dotter created a cutting-edge medical specialty called Interventional Radiology, where doctors treat disease through a tiny pinhole instead of open surgery. These doctors use x-rays and other medical imaging to see inside the body while they treat disease. These advances changed all of medicine.

Today, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures (MIIP) can treat a broad range of diseases throughout the body, in adults and children:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • aneurysms
  • life-threatening bleeding
  • infertility
  • fibroids
  • kidney stones
  • back pain
  • infections
  • blocked blood vessels
  • many other conditions

Even though trained specialists perform MIIP throughout the world, many people do not know about MIIP or if they could benefit from these life-changing treatments. The Interventional Initiative was established to raise awareness and educate the public about MIIP.

The Interventional Initiative just completed the pilot episode of the documentary series Without a Scalpel, to be aired on a national network in 2016. Without a Scalpel features real patient stories and their doctors who treat them with life-changing MIIP.


Take some time to learn more about MIIP and share this valuable, life-saving information with someone you love. Post on social media using #WithoutAScalpelDay.


The Interventional Initiative submitted National Without a Scalpel Day in 2015. If you or someone you know could benefit from MIIP, visit or follow on Twitter @interventional2.

The Registrar at National Day Calendar® proclaimed the day to be observed on January 16th, annually

January 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


President Chester Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, creating the U.S. civil service system. The act established a merit basis for federal jobs and promotions and made it illegal to fire or demote government employees for political reasons.


The states ratify the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution. A year later, the amendment goes into effect on January 17th. It prohibited “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…” In between, Congress passed the Volstead Act providing the means to enforce the 18th Amendment. The “noble experiment” ended on December 5, 1933, when the states ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition.


On October 15, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Department of Transportation. A few months later, on January 16, 1968, Johnson appointed the first Secretary of Transportation, Alan Boyd.


The Soviet Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 completed the first docking mission while in orbit above the Earth. Each spacecraft were crewed by two cosmonauts, and while docked, they performed a spacewalk and switched spacecraft for the return flight home.

January 16th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

Sarah Rosetta Wakeman – 1843

During the American Civil War, Sarah Wakeman disguised herself as a man to earn more money. Using either the name Lyons or Edwin Wakeman to find work, she eventually enlisted in the Union Army under the name Lyons. She served until 1864 when she died of dysentery. Only Wakeman’s letters home revealed her true identity.

André Michelin – 1853

The French industrialist and his brother Édouard Michelin transformed their grandfather’s business in 1888, renaming it Michelin and Company. A year later, their detachable-pneumatic tires would revolutionize transportation.

Ethel Merman – 1909

The comedic actress and singer rose to stardom on the Broadway stage in shows like Hello, Dolly, Girl Crazy, and Gypsy. Her talent translated to the silver screen, earning her a Golden Globe for 1954’s Call Me Madam.

Dian Fossey – 1932

It only took one experience with mountain gorillas to convince the American zoologist to return and establish the Karisoke Research Centre. From then on, Fossey dedicated and gave her life to studying gorillas and developing conservation efforts. Her efforts drew unwanted attention from smugglers and poachers in Rwanda. On December 26, 1985, Fossey was murdered in her bed, and the crime has never been solved.

Ronnie Milsap – 1944

One of country music’s most popular performers rose to the top of the charts during the 1970s. Some of the Grammy-winning singer and pianist’s best-known songs include “Stranger in My House,” “Any Day Now,” and “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning.”

Debbie Allen – 1950

The talented performer’s long career of successful television shows includes Fame and Grey’s Anatomy. She also appeared in one episode of The Cosby Show with her real-life sister Phylicia Rashad

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