Electrosurgery - Your Questions Answered

Supplier: Emech Medical By: Phillip Lewis
25 June, 2019

The Use Of Diathermies & Electrosurgery Is Increasing Amongst All Types Of Medical Practices And Procedures.

Electrosurgery is the use of a controlled electrical current passed through the body tissue of a patient in order to cut, coagulate or dissect the tissue. Electrosurgery is used in 80% of all surgical procedures including both major & minor operations or worldwide in over 41 million procedures per year.

  • Advantages: - Electrosurgery is a proven, fast & easy to operate system for accurate cutting & coagulation of patient tissue. The surgeon / GP has fingertip control over the amount of power he wants to generate and has different tips including bi-polar and mono-polar options. Healing is faster, bleeding is minimised and the user saves time and has better control & visibility during the procedure.
  • Mono-polar: - Monopolar is the use of a single tip on the end of the diathermy pencil, its the most common electrosurgical method and offers ease of use, efficient cutting and the ability to coagulate large blood vessels. In monopolar surgery the current flows from the generator through the monopolar tip into the patient tissue and then exits via a grounding plate and back into the generator.
  • Bi-polar: - Bi-polar is the use of a pair of forceps on the end of the diathermy lead, its commonly used for delicate operations where precision is important. In bi-polar surgery the current flows from the generator through one end of the forceps and across the patient tissue to the other end of the forceps then back to the generator. The current does not pass through the patient so there is no need of a grounding plate.
  • Electrodes: - There are several different types of electrode tips available depending on the type of procedure; blades are the most common type for cutting, excising tissue & coagulating, ball electrodes are useful for coagulation & spraying and needle electrodes are used for pinpoint coagulation. Reusable & single use tips are available.
  • Tips: - Always start at a low power setting and slowly increase the power as required, if the setting is too low the tip will drag as it moves through the tissue, if it is set too high the tissue will become discoloured or charred. Generally thinner tissues will require lower power settings while denser organs will need a higher setting.
  • Safety: - Modern electrosurgery generators are extremely safe and relatively easy to use however do check the following before use:

- the patient plate / grounding pad is safely & correctly attached to the patient

- the electrical safety / performance testing of the generator is up to date

- where applicable smoke extraction is being used to minimise exposure

  • Generator Types: - there are a range of diathermies / hyfrecators available today with low powered options for simple minor surgical procedures through to high powered operating room options. There are also a wide range of accessories including smoke extraction systems, rolling stands and a range of electrode options. Whether you are a small practice removing skin tags or a surgical centre carrying out invasive procedures there will be a system that will suit your needs and budget.

For free advice on electrosurgery / diathermy use or for a free booklet on electrosurgery please do feel free to get in touch.

Phillip Lewis / [email protected]