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One of the most important aspects of Electrosurgery is the prevention of burns. Severe burns are a possibility, if contact with the return electrode is not sufficient, or if the patient accidently comes in contact with metal objects during the procedure. The typical reason for this to occur, outside of misplacement, is worn or improperly functioning equipment. While the electrodes are not the most expensive pieces of equipment, cutting costs for Electrosurgery by not replacing these can cause problems for doctors and hospitals.
Conductivity in Electrosurgery
Prior to surgery, conductive gel will enhance the contact with the return electrode. Along with checking the electrodes for problems prior to surgery, there are many conditions that must be met to ensure safety. Problems with the wiring in the building or improperly grounded building wires can cause a problem during Electrosurgery. Some issues are resolved by using an electrosurgical unit, which usually includes a return electrode monitoring system. This system tests reliable and safe patient contact continuously. By interrogating the impedance of a split or dual pad return electrode, the generator output is disabled when there is a fault, and an alarm will sound.
Another example of the importance of the electrode in Electrosurgery is the cutting mode. This electrode carrying a sufficiently high power density is applied to tissue and vaporizes its water content. This electrode will delivery energy beyond the vaporization threshold, and can continue to cut by ionizing vapor and converting it onto a conductive plasma. An electrode designed for this purpose in Electrosurgery will have a finer wire or wire loop instead of the flat blade with a rounder surface used in other types of surgery. Having the correct electrode for specified jobs is a key element in this type of surgery. Finding the needed equipment at a cost that is affordable is an important factor in maintaining care.
Electrosurgical Arcing Current
Recent reports list one cause of burns to occur from the point of active electrode insertion to an electrosurgical pencil being used for the Electrosurgery. These occur more frequently when the shaft of the electrode is close to unintended tissues. The most typical sites are oral cavity, vaginal canal or breasts. If the metal posts of the electrode tip are exposed, it can allow the escape of current to areas where no current should run. Since often gel can be spread to areas besides the intended Electrosurgery, there is a possibility of a burn.
Replacing Electrodes and Monitoring Equipment
In order to maintain the best environment for Electrosurgery, it is prudent to not only check electrodes for frayed wires, or other issues, but to also replace them. Keeping these replacements at a low cost, through dealers such as Medical Device Depot, can allow for this maintenance at a feasible rate. For hospitals or surgeons performing many procedures or seeing several Electrosurgery patients per week, having the best possible tools available can lower the risk for burns. Monitoring equipment has significantly lowered the number of burns in surgery. Testing this equipment frequently ensures its reliability.