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by Dr Ali Harris, VetLove, Nobby Beach, QLD
This electrocautery unit has substantially improved my surgery time and patient outcomes. It’s a real game changer for surgery and a must-have in every clinic especially if you are doing high volume and complex surgeries.
What’s good about it
I’ve had this unit for about 12 months, and I use it for most surgeries especially abdominal, such as removing spleens, falciform ligament, organ biopsies and any situations where bleeding requires cautery. It allows for a much quicker technique by providing excellent cauterisation and haemostasis. When dealing with small blood vessels, it minimises haemorrhage and improves healing times.
Even though healing is good after surgery, you need to be very tissue specific. I wouldn’t use it on upper airway mucosa or when doing skin incision as the heating can cause oedema, reduce healing times of skin and cause necrosis of wound edges. It’s important to ensure you adhere to Halsted’s Principles when using it.
When used in the appropriate manner, however, it works extremely well, and I can do more surgeries in a shorter amount of time. It also decreases the amount of foreign material in the body. When a blood vessel is tied with a suture, you’re leaving foreign material that can lead to infection and reactions.
It comes with a bipolar and a monopolar pen that are operated by two buttons or a foot pedal. The bipolar option passes the electric current directly between two prongs and avoids all the surrounding tissue, which is great for thoracic surgery.
The unit is a little pricey but it’s definitely worth the investment. I couldn’t do my job without it now.
What’s not so good
You have to be very cautious of metal objects. An uncovered metal table or a dog collar can lead to reduced current connection to the unit and burns to the patient. Conduction with the plate under the patient works best with a wet cloth over it. It takes a bit of time to find the correct settings but once you know how to work it, there’s no looking back.