Melee weapons were weapons designed for close- to medium-ranged combat. Such weapons included clubs like the gaderffii used by the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine, swords, and vibro-axes. In the sparring gym of his flagship, the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer Chimaera, Grand Admiral Thrawn kept a number of melee weapons, which he used against DT-series sentry droids to train his fighting skills.
By the time of the Cold War, people usually preferred to fight from long range, using rifles and blasters. As a consequence, physicians were not used to treating wounds inflicted by melee weapons such as lightsabers.