Electrosurgical Generators

Written by Norene Anderson
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Many changes have taken place in the design of generators for electrosurgical equipment. In the 1980s, isolated units with no ground reference replaced the ground reference units with a common point of return for electric circuits. Discrete output was also introduced during this time. Tissue impedance improvement at the patient plate was discovered.

The late 1980s initiated the use of argon gas to enhance coagulation. The 1990s brought the capability of measuring the resistance of tissue when it is exposed to the electrode. This provides for consistency in tissue contact. The electrosurgical unit is utilized for cutting and coagulation. This is accomplished by high-frequency currents delivered through an electrode.

More about Electrosurgical Generators

Current is supplied by a generator with either non-discrete or discrete output. The discrete unit allows only the specified attachment to utilize the current. Non-discrete output indicates that it is possible for any of the accessories to be activated. This requires the physician to be very careful to note which instrument is activated.

Electrosurgery is possible because of the ability of a radio frequency current that is highly concentrated to make heat energy. This type of energy dries the tissue causing coagulation or it can cause the cells to vaporize. All of this transpires through a tiny electrode as it makes contact with the tissue. Electrosurgical units may be bipolar or monopolar. A patient plate is required for monopolar electrosurgery. Bipolar electrosurgery confines the electrosurgical current to a limited amount of tissue. This gives the physician better control over coagulation.

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