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Proceedings Paper

Is penile electrocautery safe?: I. Histological and computational temperature assessment in an animal model
Author(s): P. Jack Hoopes; David J. Cozzolino; Marc Cendron; Keith D. Paulsen; B. Stuart Trembly; Alex Hartov; Thomas P. Ryan; Luanna R. Bartholomew
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Paper Abstract

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the thermal and tissue changes associated with the use of electrocautery hemostasis on dependent tissues such as the penis. Circumcision was performed on twelve male sheep using a Gomco clamp and surgical removal. Electrocautery was then applied circumferentially to 6 separate sites along the circumcision incision for a duration of 2 seconds per application, with a 10-second interval between applications. Coagulation electrocautery power was set at either 25 or 50 Watts. Temperature changes were monitored by fiber-optic temperature probes placed immediately beneath the circumcision site in the penile urethra and at the base of the penis. Three animals were sacrificed acutely while the remaining 15 animals were sacrificed one month post-procedure. Penises were assessed by gross and histologic observation. Immediately post-procedure, epidermal and superficial dermal necrosis was observed at the cautery sites. By 32-days postprocedure, primary tissue change at the cautery site consisted of scarring and mild inflammation. Energy level (25 vs 50 Watts) did not significantly affect the level of tissue damage. Penile tissue subadjacent or distant to the cautery sites showed no gross or histologic change at the acute or chronic assessment period. During electrocautery, a maximum increase of 7°C (1-2 mm from the site of electrocautery) was observed regardless of the energy level. Temperature elevations commonly returned to near baseline within 5 minutes post-application. Smaller increases in temperature (range 1-2°C) occurred at the base of the penis. Our results document the long-held perception that electrocautery hemostasis can be safely employed in penile surgery, if the appropriate technique is used. Significant temperature and tissue changes are confined to very small/localized regions immediately adjacent to the cautery applicator.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 2001
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 4247, Thermal Treatment of Tissue: Energy Delivery and Assessment, (1 June 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.427846
Show Author Affiliations
P. Jack Hoopes, Dartmouth Medical School (United States)
David J. Cozzolino, Dartmouth Medical School (United States)
Marc Cendron, Dartmouth Medical School (United States)
Keith D. Paulsen, Dartmouth College (United States)
B. Stuart Trembly, Dartmouth College (United States)
Alex Hartov, Dartmouth College (United States)
Thomas P. Ryan, Ethicon, Inc. (United States)
Luanna R. Bartholomew, Dartmouth Medical School (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4247:
Thermal Treatment of Tissue: Energy Delivery and Assessment
Thomas P. Ryan, Editor(s)

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