Understanding electrosurgery and the equipment needed to perform it

Nowadays, one of the key products a doctor’s office should have are electrosurgery tools. But before you decide on what types of equipment you need, it’s a good idea to get across their clinical benefits so that you can clearly explain their uses to patients.

What type of equipment does electrosurgery use?

There are several types of electrosurgery equipment that fall under two categories, which are electrosurgical units (ESU) or high frequency desiccators. ESUs are for the cutting and coagulation of tissue with monopolar or bipolar energy, and high frequency desiccators are used to perform desiccation, fulguration and coagulation.

Some of these include:

  • Desiccators: this kind of electrosurgery equipment is used to perform desiccation, fulguration and coagulation.
  • Cauteries: these electrosurgery equipment products are lightweight, battery-operated utensils used for cauterisation procedures.
  • Hyfrecator Pen: these are important medical instruments used in electrosurgery on patients that are still conscious, usually in an office setting.

There are also a number of electrosurgery accessories available, such as Diathermy Plates, Button Switch Pencils With Edges, and Bipolar Adson Micro 0.5mm Forceps.

How does electrosurgery work?

Electrosurgery has been used in therapeutic and medicinal procedures for many years, but there’s still a lot of stigma and misconceptions surrounding the use of electricity because of now-banned practices. However, despite that electrosurgery is actually an extremely effective medical approach in some cases. So, how exactly does it work? Without going into too much detail regarding currents, voltages, amps and watts, electrosurgery uses various equipment that harnesses the power of waveforms and the impact they can have on tissue.

The impact of electrosurgery on tissue:

The effect on tissue comes from the heat produced either internally or externally. This is the result of the source of energy, which can include:

  • Fulguration is characterised as the destruction of the superficial area of tissue, such as small growths. It is a non-contact coagulation during which the current arcs or jumps from the active electrode to the tissue, making contact with different points over a broad area. This generates a high, localised, instantaneous current density, but also a low average current density.
  • Coagulation refers to the process of transitioning a liquid into a solid (or semi-solid) state. In electrosurgical use, tissue fluids will boil away, leaving proteins to become natured and forming a white coagulum. Cellular definition can be lost as the tissue structures fuse to form a mass with a hyalinised look.
  • Vaporisation is the cutting of tissue with electrical currents. The process utilises current density, such as a dampened current made to divide tissue and ‘vaporise’ the cells.
  • Desiccation is generated by a low current and a relatively higher voltage. It’s designed to shrink cells and shrivel elongated nuclei, while also preserving the cellular detail. It does this due to the resultant loss of water from the cells.

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