How to use electrosurgical/cautery pencils
Electrosurgical pencils, also known as cautery pencils are used during electrosurgery procedures. They are used to cut biological tissue and control bleeding through Radio Frequency Alternating Current (RFAC).
Here are some guidelines for using electrosurgical pencils:
- Examine the sterile packaging of the device before use. If the packaging is broken, do not use the cautery pencil.
- Properly inspect electrosurgical pencil before use. The device shouldn’t be used if the electrode is damaged.
- The pencils are available inside a sterile package and are meant for single use. It cannot be re-sterilized.
- Assemble all the parts of the cautery pencil correctly.
- Before using, ensure that the electrode of the pencil is appropriately attached to the electrosurgical generator. Incorrect installation of the electrode can lead to injuries, both for the patient and the operating team. Also, inspect all equipment which needs to be connected to the generator.
- Pencils and other electrosurgical unit (ESU) devices can cause fires when active. So, do not put them near flammable items like gauze and surgical drapes. Use holsters to keep the pencils away from patients, operating room staff and the items mentioned above.
- Every instruction from the generator’s guide must be followed. Follow the manual for power setting guidance with different electrode configurations.
- Set the generator correctly before starting the operation. Setting the lowest possible power is advised as it leads to a favorable surgical outcome. If the power is set at a high level, then it can result in burning.
- The grounding pad and the tissue of the patient should be in contact before power is supplied to the cautery pencil. This must be done to prevent the patient from getting electric shocks and burns.
- When ESU pencils and other related devices are not being used, put them in a dry, clean and non-conductive area. The pencils should be kept in a visible place where it won’t be in contact with patients. Contact can result in burns.
There are different configurations of ESU pencils, such as push button, rocker, and foot switching, to name a few.