An electrosurgical unit is a surgical tool that uses an electric current to cut or coagulate tissue.
Most units utilize a high-frequency current. Cutting and coagulation can be monopolar, employing one electrode, or bipolar, where the current moves from an active to a passive return electrode. Some use laser placement to ease surgical orientation and accuracy.
This technology has many advantages over the traditional scalpel, including simultaneous cutting and coagulating as well as ease of use for many procedures (including surgical endscopy).
Electrosurgical Unit Safety
Modern electrosurgical machines include safety features that prevent injuries from occurring due to poor contact between patient and return electrode during monopolar mode.
Safely Using the ESU
When not in use, the hand piece should be kept in its nonconductive holster.
Use the lowest setting generator that is possible to achieve the desired surgical effect. The chances of arcing increase when voltages are higher than required. The surgeon may continue to request a higher setting if they feel the integrity of the skin/dispersive pads interface is at risk.
The tip of the electrode should be cleaned frequently. The tip can become eschar, which is dead tissue from burning, and this can lead to arcing, sparking, ignition, and flaming. The electrode should be cleaned with a sponge and not a scratch pad. These pads can scratch the electrode tip, increasing the likelihood of eschar buildup.
ESUs should never be used in environments containing flammable substances or oxygen-enriched environments.
Avoid using flammable materials that could be ignited by sparks such as alcohol or skin degreasers. Alcohol-based skin preparations should not be allowed to pool near the dispersive pads.
Active electrode tips should not be covered with rubber catheters or any other material.
You should not wrap cables around metal instruments as the current can cause burns.
Sharp towel clips and other metal tools should not be used to attach cables to drapes. Sharply crafted metal clips can cause damage to electrical cables and may make contact with patient’s skin. An electrical transformer can be created when a piece of metal is encircled by an electrical wire. This can pose a danger and ignite drapes.
Wet gloves and hands are not recommended for use with electrosurgical equipment. Sterile gloves with holes can allow for electrical current to pass through. All surgical team members must have clean gloves. * Do not operate electrosurgical equipment on wet surfaces. The foot pedal should be kept dry. Cover the foot pedal with a waterproof, clear cover to prevent fluid leakage.
Here to Help
Heartland Medical offers a variety of electrosurgical units for sale or rent for medical environments such as hospitals, medical clinics, doctors’ offices, and surgery centers.
contact us to learn more about how we can help provide your facility and patient with excellence in anesthesia care.