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eISSN: 1643-3750

New trends in head and neck surgery: a prospective evaluation of the Harmonic Scalpel

Angelo Salami, Massimo Dellepiane, Maurizio Bavazzano, Barbara Crippa, Francesco Mora, Renzo Mora

Med Sci Monit 2008; 14(5): PI1-5

ID: 855735

Available online: 2008-04-29

Published: 2008-04-29

Background: The use of ultrasonic technology to cut and coagulate tissues with minimal tissue damage has been investigated in general surgery and gynecology. The purpose of this study was to verify the efficacy and applicability of the Harmonic Scalpel in head and neck surgery.
Material and Method: A non-randomized study was undertaken on 40 pharyngolaryngectomies, 40 total laryngectomies, 40 radical neck dissections, and 40 superficial parotidectomies performed using the Harmonic Scalpel (80 patients) or "cold knife" dissection (80 patients). The evaluation included operation time, intraoperative blood loss, quantity of neck drainage on the first and second postoperative days, postoperative seroma formation, pattern of wound healing, days of hospitalization, and subjective assessment of postoperative pain.
Results: In patients treated with the Harmonic Scalpel, the mean operation time was significantly (p<0.05) shorter (119.1+/-1.35 vs. 156.9+/-1.51), intraoperative blood loss (121.5+/-1.28 vs. 257.5+/-2.32) and the quantity of neck drainage on the first (47+/-0.87 vs. 89+/-1.28) and second (38.7+/-0.86 vs. 75.5+/-1.34) postoperative days were significantly less, and the days of hospitalization (6.67+/-0.48 vs. 8.8+/-0.58) and the pain scores (3.24+/-0.63 vs. 5.91+/-0.83) were significantly lower than in the "cold knife" group. No postoperative complications were noted in the Harmonic Scalpel group.
Conclusions: The use of the Harmonic Scalpel in head and neck surgery is safe and confers some advantages over conventional methods of head and neck dissection.

Keywords: Parotid Gland - surgery, Neck Dissection - methods, Laryngectomy - instrumentation, Equipment Design, Blood Loss, Surgical - prevention & control