Comparison of the Effects of Surgical Dissection Devices on the Rabbit Liver


Authors: Joel D. MacDonald, Christian A. Bowers, Steven S. Chin, Greg BurnsSN

First Published: September 5, 2013


Purpose. Multiple energy-based surgical dissection and coagulation modalities are available to facilitate surgical dissection and hemostasis, but there is limited information regarding the acute tissue effects of these devices. Our objective was to compare the functional characteristics and tissue effects of four energy-based surgical dissection and coagulation modalities on the rabbit liver.

Methods. Linear incisions were created in the rabbit liver using monopolar electrocautery, a harmonic scalpel, a PlasmaBlade and a new ferromagnetic induction loop device. Subjective cutting and coagulation characteristics for each device were recorded, and the histological tissue effects were evaluated.

Results. Each of the modalities successfully incised the liver tissue. The PlasmaBlade and the ferromagnetic induction loop exhibited significantly less perceived tissue drag during the incision, significantly less collateral tissue damage and significantly better margin uniformity than the monopolar electrocautery device. Each device showed comparable subjective hemostasis. The harmonic scalpel did not demonstrate a significant difference compared with any of the other devices in any of the parameters examined. The histological analysis revealed that the least lateral thermal damage resulted when the PlasmaBlade, harmonic scalpel and ferromagnetic induction loop were used, and the most damage occurred with the use of monopolar electrocautery.

Conclusions. Each of the newer energy-based surgical tools showed improvement over monopolar electrocautery with regard to lateral thermal injury, and the ferromagnetic induction device and the PlasmaBlade demonstrated superior surgical tissue handling characteristics to the monopolar electrocautery device.