The main function of the electric scalpels is to section or coagulate tissue. This sectioning and coagulation can be carried out using two techniques: the monopolar technique and the bipolar technique.

In this article, we present you their differences :

  • Monopolar technique : this technique is carried out by a single active electrode which will also act as a neutral electrode. It transmits the HF current from the generator. When this electrode is in contact with the tissue, a high current density is transmitted. It is this high concentration of energy over a small area that achieves the desired effect. The current then flows through the patient’s body to the neutral electrode. The electrical circuit is thus completely closed.
    • Advantages: Suitable for drying large tissue masses;
    • Disadvantages: higher electrocution risk; to reduce this risk it is important that the neutral electrode is correctly applied to the patient; this technique is not compatible with patients with a metal implant or pacemaker.
  • Bipolar technique: the HF current arrives through an active electrode and leaves through the neutral electrode, without passing through the patient’s body. The best known instrument for this technique is the bipolar forceps, which allows the active and neutral electrodes to be placed opposite each other. The current flows directly from one tip of the forceps to the other. The neutral electrode has no function here.
    • Advantages: safer technique than monopolar; no risk of burning or electrocution of the patient; technique to be used for pacemaker wearers ;
    • Disadvantages: unsuitable for the desiccation of large masses of tissue.

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