What is electrocautery?

Electrocautery is the process of passing electrical current through body tissues during surgery in order to control hemorrhage.
Electrocautery is essential for all types of surgery.
Electrocautery is the most commonly used surgical technique for controlling hemorrhage during surgery.
It can result in thermal injuries that lead to morbidity and mortality.

What is monopolar vs bipolar electrocautery?

Download monopolar versus bipolar infographic here.

Why is bipolar electrocautery important?

Bipolar electrocautery is vitally important in all open surgeries (ie., non-endoscopic surgeries) because it provides a means of controlling hemorrhage without damaging surrounding tissues.

What type of surgery requires forceps electrocautery?

Surgeries that utilize bipolar forceps electrocautery: Almost all open surgeries require bipolar electrocautery. These are surgeries in which an incision is made to provide exposure. Most surgeries are open.
Surgeries that do not utilize bipolar forceps electrocautery: Laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures may not use bipolar forceps electrocautery.

What are the current challenges of bipolar electrocautery?

Current systems rely on a foot pedal for activation of the generator. This presents a number of challenges that may create safety issues:
Finding the foot pedal can delay an activation which may lead to blood loss.
Misplacement of the foot pedal often requires operating room staff to crawl on the floor under the operating table to relocate the foot pedal. The area under the operating table is unsterile and dirty and exposes staff to pathogens. This also delays activation and distracts the surgeon.
Surgeons may activate the wrong foot pedal in search of the bipolar electrocautery foot pedal.
Prolonged surgeries and foot pedal distractions contribute to physician fatigue. Bipolar forceps electrocautery is generally accepted as the most accurate form of electrocautery.

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