Safety First! Review The Do’s And Don’ts In Electrosurgery

You have probably used electrosurgical units (ESU) by now, maybe many times, but a little review is a very good safety precaution. This guide can also serve to highlight pointers you can give when training other staff on the use of ESUs.

Before the Operation


Make sure the room where you will conduct the procedure has a smoke evacuation system.
Make sure to test the equipment is functioning correctly and if any settings require adjusting
Make sure the patient has removed all jewellery or any electricity conducting items from their clothing. e.g. phone, pen
Ensure the patient is not in contact with any metal part of the procedure table/couch
Cover the foot pedal with a waterproof cover to protect it from possible fluid spillage. (Whether it is a pneumatic or electrical foot pedal, this protects it’s long performance and saves a difficult cleaning procedure)
Identify the correct plug ports for connecting the appropriate cables


Avoid alcohol-based skin preps and do not allow the liquid to pool by the dispersive pad as alcohol is flammable.
Do not start using ESU if the prep solution is not thoroughly dry and if fumes are still present.
Do not use sharp or metallic instruments to attach the ESU cables to drapes. This can damage electrical cables, cause electric shock to the patient or operator, or ignite drapes.
Do not force any cable plugs into the control panel. If you are experiencing difficulty, check if you connecting into the correct port, as the plugs are designed to fit smoothly and firmly.

During the Operation


Always return the handpiece to the nonconductive holster or quiver when it is not in use.
Ensure the dispersive pad is contacting with the patient’s skin on at least 95% of the pad surface area.
Always use the lowest power setting for a procedure that is providing effective results. Arcing occurs when the power setting is unnecessarily high on the electrosurgical generator, and if it too low you will find the electrode tips or Bipolar Forceps are not achieving the required effect upon the tissue.
Regularly clean the electrode tip to prevent dead tissue build-up and to prevent burning of the tissue. (Teflon coated tips are recommended as they wipe clean easily.)


Do not use abrasive scratch pads to clean the electrode tip as these damage the tip surface, increasing dead tissue build-up. Teflon tips do not require a scratch pad.
Do not use ESUs in an environment that has flammable agents or is oxygen-enriched.
Do not sheath electrode tips with rubber catheters.
Do not operate ESUs with wet gloves or hands
Do not operate ESU when standing on a wet surface.
When it comes to life, safety is always first, and we are true to our core value – “When you Care.” Here at Hallmark Surgical, we provide Electrosurgical Generators that have safety alerts for the protection of both the patient and the Doctor. Additionally, we only source and supply generators, accessories and Bipolar Forceps from reputable and certified manufacturers. Let our helpdesk assist you with your needs.

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