SP: Have these products reduced costs in
Hunter-Niffenegger: Overall electrosurgery is very affordable considering other technologies. When you consider the safety of the patient it
is easily justified. Without it you are putting the patient at risk. With
electrosurgery you are also looking at shorter recovery times, with less
pain and risk of infection. We also see some cost savings in some of
the resposable products we use.
Hashemi: Yes, electrosurgical products have the potential to be
highly cost effective from both an OR efficiency perspective and a
cost per use perspective due to their ability to serve multiple functions, including cutting, coagulating, and ligating, all at various
depths and tissues.
SP: What type of feedback have you heard
from medical professionals regarding electro-
Hunter-Niffenegger: They love them and use them a lot. In our
hospital they are especially used a lot in our general and vascular areas,
and OB/GYN surgeries. Whether it is tubal ligation, hysterectomies,
or appendectomies, they are in need of some type of electrosurgery.
They actually become very passionate about electrosurgical products,
and in turn, become very attached. So much in fact, that once they
choose a particular product or vendor, it is very difficult to persuade
them to consider another product or technology option that involves
changing their mindset. They rely on these products as they become
“the norm” in the OR.
Hashemi: Consistent performance, safety and reliability are the most
important aspects of electrosurgical products to medical professionals.
Additionally, many surgeons are suggesting modifications to designs
to allow these instruments to be used as cost-effective alternatives in
minimally invasive procedures.
SP: What does the future hold for innovations
in electrosurgical products?
Hashemi: We expect to see further advancements in blade geometries, materials and coatings. Such improvements would enhance
performance while considering environmental issues. Additionally,
we anticipate enhancements in impedance control and in the programming of generators, resulting in the potential for greater efficiency and increased safety. As more minimally invasive procedures are
performed, we expect more miniaturization as well as non-tethered
devices as well.
Hunter-Niffenegger: I think in the future you’ll see advancements in skin
grafting and vessel sealing.
As mentioned, there are currently products that allow you to simultaneously seal and transect different size vessels with minimal thermal damage, and I think you’ll see this expand into other areas with
mechanisms for lung and bowl, etc. This technology would take place
of where staples are used now. Also thinking futuristically, you might
see advances in skin grafting. For instance with hemorrhoids they are
talking about doing skin graft fusions that will be sealed through electrosurgery and hernias, that will be sealed with electrosurgery instead
of using mesh.