Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Terms in Electrosurgery

While I was on my ride-along a few weeks ago, there were quite a few new terms I learned about electrosurgery. Here is an explanation of electrosurgery on Wikipedia. As noted here, "electrosurgery is usually used to refer to a quite different method than electrocautery".

I myself have made the mistake of describing electrosurgery as "cauterizing", but no more! Raquel said it is common for hospital staff to refer to electrosurgical units as the "cautery" or "bovie" unit. Since she was properly trained in the correct terms, when she refers to the "electrosurgical unit", it sometimes results in looks of confusion from the staff.

Essentially, electrosurgery is the use of energy to cut (like a scalpel) and coagulate. Electrosurgery helps limit blood loss while making precise cuts, as described on the Wikipedia page. For this reason, electrosurgery has a very wide range of applications in many different specialties. On Conmed units, a higher "blend" means more coagulation.

Another new term I learned was thermal necrosis. Some tissue may become necrotic (dead) at the electrosurgical site, evidenced by black spots. Although the goal should be to minimize this as much as possible, Raquel said that she has spoken to some doctors that think the black spots are good because it tells them that "it's done". Woo.

Before Raquel espouses her product's ability to reduce thermal necrosis compared to competitive products, she is sure to find out what matters to the doctor and what the doctor interprets as a good result. She also noted the importance of finding the right surgeon who cares about electrosurgery and will champion her product.