An Electrocautery Device with an Efficient/Surgeon-Friendly Smoke-Evacuation System
Surgeons routinely use electrocautery to remove unwanted tissue, seal off and cauterize small bleeding vessels in the tissue, or create a surgical incision. Cauterizing tissue, however, creates a smoke plume that contains potential carcinogens as a result of carbonization of proteins and fat. The (soft) tissues that are treated may also contain hazardous materials, e.g., bacteria, viruses. Also, occasionally, when prosthetic materials are vaporized, there may be the development of toxic gases. Ideally, all of this smoke should be removed from the operating room. Chronic exposure to the cauterized smoke plume has been suggested to cause respiratory problems and other ailments. Currently, the solution is to use a smoke evacuator system consisting of mainly a flexible tube attached on one side to the pencil-like electrocautery device and on the other side to vacuum cleaner type filtering device. The "smoke" is suctioned off and trapped in a reservoir with a filter. However, the present machinery is bulky, and the tubing comes twisted making it difficult to work with. There is additional set up time required.
The student's role in this project include conducting a survey on existing techniques for electrocautery smoke evacuation systems, assisting us in feasibility study of our porposed technique which includes using available micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) devices and to embed the smoke evacuation system into the electrocautery device and also build a proof-ofconcept prototype of the system.