Veterinary HFR (11)

What is electrosurgery?

Electrosurgery is the use of electrical energy in the form of radio waves in the High Frequency radio band applied directly to tissue to induce histological effects. Like laser treatment, electrosurgery is thermo-dynamic and develops heat directly within tissue cells. Unlike laser however, electrosurgery works over the entire surface of …

Where is electrosurgery used?

Electrosurgery is used on soft tissue. In general surgery, electrosurgery is used on nearly every soft tissue in the human body. The energy introduced by electrosurgery reacts with water molecules within the cells of the tissue being treated.

Why use electrosurgery in veterinary practice?

The primary rationale for electrosurgery is because it allows surgery with concurrent hemostasis to be performed. In addition it performs coagulation in order to control bleeding or to desiccate diseased tissue (ablation). It may also be used to seal vessels. Common uses of electrosurgery are: General surgery, emergency care, neuter, …

Is anesthesia required?

Yes, anesthesia is required for electrosurgery.  

How is electrosurgery applied?

By means of two electrical connections called “electrodes”. In “monopolar” electrosurgery, one is an “active” electrode and is used to introduce therapeutic current into tissue. These are also called “tips” or “electrode tips” and come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes suited to specific clinical indications for incision, …

What is “isolated output”?

It refers to the path therapeutic current takes from the active electrode back to the unit. In an isolated output unit the path is from the active electrode, through the body, through the dispersive electrode and back to the unit. A very small clinically negligible amount of therapeutic current can …

Is electrosurgery safe around pregnant patients or veterinary physicians?

Yes. Safety is enhanced with isolated output units since therapeutic current does not diffuse through the body into the table; rather, it is significantly constrained to the dispersive pad. Judicious placement of the dispersive pad will prevent electrosurgical therapeutic current from passing through the womb. Do avoid draping the cables …

Is electrosurgery “self sterilizing”?

No. Bacterium and fungi are volatized along with target tissue and viruses can survive electrosurgery as well as in laser or thermal cautery interventions. Autoclaving the electrodes and hand piece before use is absolutely required in order to avoid cross contamination.

What is “fulguration”?

Fulguration is the application of electrosurgical therapeutic current by means of an arc, or spark. Commonly used in dermatology and general surgery for bleeding control over large areas, the effect of the technique is somewhat superficial and does not go deep into tissue. The treatment area is desiccated to about …

What are the advantages of a 4.0MHz electrosurgery unit over lower frequency ones?

Assuming operating frequency is high enough (over 100KHz); neuro-muscular stimulation is avoided. A higher frequency of 4.0MHz provides better efficiency for the non-direct contact capacitive dispersive pad in comparison to most general surgery units which typically run around 500KHz or less and which rely on direct contact dispersive pads.

What about smoke and odor?

This phenomenon is shared by laser and thermal cautery, arising from the volatization of cellular fluid contents, primarily during incision and excision. The use of high speed suction held near the surgical site or a dedicated smoke evacuator is recommended, both of which are effective. Judicious use of irrigation can …

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