Monday, May 24, 2010

New Surgical Device Makes Cleaner Incisions

The scalpel could soon be a thing of the past...A high-tech way to cut through skin and tissue creates less heat damage than standard methods.Wendy Rigby has the story.Deborah Hackworth is about to go under the knife at nix hospital in San Antonio.Her surgeon will be using a new tool to cut out a suspicious lump in her left breast.Hackworth says, "I think patients will recover quicker. I think there will be less pain involved for us."The tool, called the plasma blade, is a new kind of cutting device.Plasma is the same energy used in neon signs and some flat screen TV's.Here in the o-r, the energy is used to cut through skin and tissue, generating less heat than conventional techniques.Breast surgeon Dr. Kathryn Wagner has embraced this new technology.Dr. Kathryn Wagner says, "This is a revolutionary new tool and a way to perform surgery. It replaces both the scalpel and electrocautery, traditional electrosurgery. When you use this device to cut the skin, you get a clean cut with no burn just like a scalpel. Except there's no bleeding."Wagner has been using the plasma blade for about a year now.She says she's impressed with the lack of heat damage it leaves behind.And she's noticed less pain for her patients, a decrease in scarring and faster healing after surgery.Dr. Wagner says, "I think this is the best thing since electrocautery was invented. Aesthetics and pain, a lack of pain from surgery. The difference is pretty impressive."Now, Wagner uses the plasma blade on almost every case.

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