Electrosurgical Units, Generators, Instruments and Accessories
Electrosurgery is the application of a high-frequency electric current to
biological tissue as a means to cut, coagulate, desiccate, or fulgurate
tissue. Its benefits include the ability to make precise cuts with limited blood
loss. Electrosurgical devices are frequently used during surgical operations
helping to prevent blood loss in hospital operating rooms or in outpatient
In electrosurgical procedures, the tissue is heated by an electric current.
Although electrical devices may be used for the cauterization of tissue in some
applications, electrosurgery is usually used to refer to a quite different
method than electrocautery. The latter uses heat conduction from a probe heated
to a glowing temperature by a direct current (much in the manner of a soldering
iron). This may be accomplished by direct current from dry-cells in a
penlight-type device. Electrosurgery, by contrast, uses alternating current to
directly heat the tissue itself. When this results in destruction of small blood
vessels and halting of bleeding, it is technically a process of
electrocoagulation, although "electrocautery" is sometimes loosely and
nontechnically used to describe it.
Often electrosurgery is mistakenly referred to as diathermy. Unlike Ohmic
heating by electric current passing through the conductive tissue in
conventional electrosurgery, diathermy means dielectric heating, produced by
rotation of molecular dipoles in high frequency alternating electric field. This
effect is most widely used in microwave ovens which operate at gigahertz
Electrosurgery is commonly used in dermatological, gynecological, cardiac,
plastic, ocular, spine, ENT, maxillofacial, orthopedic, urological, neuro- and
general surgical procedures as well as certain dental procedures.
Electrosurgery is performed using an electrosurgical generator (also referred to
as power supply or waveform generator) and a handpiece including one or several
electrodes, sometimes referred to as an RF Knife. The apparatus when used for
cutting or coagulation in surgery is still often referred to informally by
surgeons as a "Bovie," after the inventor.
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