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Spooky Misguided Uses of Electrosurgery

Where it all began

Electrosurgery has been around since 1926, when William T. Bovie, a Harvard Ph.D. first introduced the technique to a colleague who had previously been unsuccessful in removing a tumor from a patient’s head due to excessive bleeding. Dr. Bovie assisted Dr. Harvey W. Cushing with the use of electrosurgery to remove the mass with little bleeding, and the operation was a resounding success.

William T. Bovie September 11, 1882 – January 1, 1958 Known for Bovie Electrocautery Device & Scientific Career Institutions Harvard University, Northwestern University, Jackson Laboratory
William T. Bovie, Ph.D.

The technique of electrosurgery was later refined by Dr. James Greenwood, chief of neurosurgical service at Methodist Hospital in Houston. The concept of two-point coagulation was created in replacement of monopolar coagulation due to the exceptional value it provided by keeping the electrical current and the vessel between the tips, allowing for fine manipulation in an accurate and efficient matter.

94 years have passed since that initial use of electrosurgery, and it has become a mainstay in operating rooms, with over 80% of all surgeries involving the practice.

Issues that Remain

It is estimated that surgical fires total around 500 to 600 annually in the United States due to the misuse of electrosurgical procedures. Approximately, two-thirds of associated patient injuries associated with the use of electrosurgery are not detected during the procedure. Unfortunately, this has not only implications on patient care but also immensely increases the financial burden on the health institutes costing them millions of dollars every year.

To review these related issues in depth visit NIH.

Monopolar versus Bipolar

Monopolar electrosurgery involves the use of a surgical instrument, usually pencil-shaped, which contains a single electrode. The return current is through the patient to a “grounding pad”, usually placed on the patient’s thigh. Misplacement, misuse, and forgetting to place a grounding pad altogether have horrific ramifications for the patient & the hospital.

Bipolar electrosurgery is a surgical instrument that contains both the source and sink. Current is almost entirely limited to the space between the forceps. Previously bipolar electrocautery though a better surgical procedure still provided the frustration of the foot pedal, often lost under the surgery table, while precious seconds are lost.

For cutting, monopolar is generally the accepted form of electrosurgery. However, bipolar forceps electrocautery is generally accepted as the best instrument for electrocautery.

(See Below)

Monopolar versus Bipolar Electrocautery Table
Monopolar versus Bipolar Electrocautery

Neurosurgeon Known for BiPAD Hand Switch Invention
Louis G. Cornacchia, MD

After 70 years of failed attempts to create a hand switch and resolve the associated issues with the use of a foot pedal in electrocautery, BiPAD Hand Switch was created with resounding success similar to the invention of electrosurgey 80 years ago by William T. Bovie. The inventor, neurosurgeon, Dr. Louis Cornacchia knew there must be a better way to improve surgical outcomes both for the Surgeons, Supporting Staff, and Patients. The advantages of literally putting the control of electrocautery in your own hands have proven the following benefits to Hospitals who use the device:

· REDUCE THE COST OF SURGERY: by ~$6B (Ref. "A") annually in wasted OR time (~$200/case at $100/min for OR time). Save time wasted in locating or relocating the foot pedal.

· IMPROVE SURGERY: by saving the equivalent of 660,000 (Ref. "A") transfusions of blood loss per year AND by reducing surgeon fatigue and distractions.

· IMPROVE SAFETY FOR STAFF: by eliminating the need for staff to crawl under the OR table to re-locate the pedal during surgery.

· HELP HOSPITALS REDUCE COST AND IMPROVE STAFF SATISFACTION: by providing hospitals and surgicenters with the new BiPAD® disposable cord to replace their old disposable cord and foot pedals.

Make the switch today and do not let your O.R. be spooked by the scary misuse of electrosurgery!


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