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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 153-157

Comparative study of safety and efficacy of electrocautery blade with cold scalpel blade for skin opening during fixation of fracture of forearm bone with plate and screws

Department of Orthopedics, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, BG Nagar, Mandya District, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
K T Madhukar
176, Sampada, Siddivinayaka Block, Teachers Layout, Mysore, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-344X.105065

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Introduction: The art of performing surgeries have improved in recent years with the development of various electrosurgical devices assisting surgeons in performing safer surgeries with better outcomes. Skin incision has traditionally been made with a standard scalpel blade with good primary healing end results of the wound. The electrocautery has been used safely in performing deeper dissections. Use of electrocautery in skin incision has been discouraged in the past for the fear of cutaneous scarring, wound dehiscence, and infections particularly in orthopedic surgeries using internal implants. A review of the literature shows not many studies have been conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of electrocautery in skin incisions during orthopedic surgeries using internal implants. Aim: A prospective study was conducted in a tertiary care hospital with the aim to determine whether an electrocautery blade can be used safely for skin incisions. Materials and Methods: Sixty-two patients with single-bone fracture of the forearm undergoing open reduction and internal fixation received one-half of the incision with a standard scalpel blade and another half with electrocautery in pure cutting mode randomly. Analysis: Wounds were compared on operating day for any physical changes and on days 3, 5, and 12, and again on 3 rd and 6 weeks follow-up to know any difference in skin healing between the incised wounds of the two halves. Results: No evidence of any difference in healing of the two halves of skin incision was noted. There was also no increased risk of wound scarring, dehiscence, or infection with electrocautery incision when compared with standard scalpel incision. The time taken for skin incision with electrocautery was significantly less when compared with cold scalpel incision. Conclusion: We propose that electrocautery can be safely used for performing skin incision, with comparable results to that of a standard scalpel skin incision.

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