Comparison of Wound-Healing Characteristics with Feedback Circuit Electrosurgical Generators in a Porcine Model

Pollinger, Harrison S.; Mostafa, Gamal; Harold, Kristi L.; Austin, Catherine E.; Kercher, Kent W.; Matthews, Brent D.
December 2003
American Surgeon;Dec2003, Vol. 69 Issue 12, p1054
Academic Journal
The type of incisional instrument used to create a surgical wound can influence the rate of wound healing and overall wound strength. The purpose of this study was to evaluate several facets of wound healing within incisions created in the small intestine, uterus, and skin in a porcine model by using feedback circuit electrosurgical generators and a standard steel scalpel blade in a porcine model. Eighteen pigs were evaluated by creating surgical incisions in the skin, uterus, and small intestine utilizing 2 computerized electrosurgical generators (FX, ValleyLab, Boulder, CO, and PEGASYS, Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., Cincinnati, OH) and a scalpel blade. All incisions were reapproximated with absorbable suture. Incision sites were evaluated histologically at 3, 7, or 14 days postincision according to randomization. The skin and small intestine samples were tested for wound tensile strength at 7 and 14 days. There were no statistically significant differences demonstrated with tensile strength testing comparing the electrosurgical devices to the scalpel-blade incisions for skin or small intestine at all time points. The only significant difference detected with respect to wound tensile strength was when different organ types were compared, regardless of device used (i.e., skin, 19.5 N/cm² vs. small intestine, 5.78 N/cm²). Histologic evaluation demonstrated that the wounds created by the electrosurgical generators displayed decreased overall wound healing at 3, 7, and 14 days compared to the scalpel group. These findings indicate that the electrosurgical devices tested delay wound healing at the surgical site, but fail to demonstrate any significant difference in overall wound tensile strength. Wound healing may occur at a more rapid rate when a traditional scalpel blade is used to create the surgical incision, but no difference in global wound dynamics could be detected.


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