The cutting mechanism of the electrosurgical scalpel
E. Gjika, M. Pekker, A. Shashurin, M. Shneider, T. Zhuang, J. Canady, and M. Keidar
Electrosurgical cutting is a well-known technique for creating incisions often used for the removal of benign and malignant tumors. The proposed mathematical model suggests that incisions are created due to the localized heating of the tissue. The model estimates a volume of tissue heating in the order of 2 · 10−4 mm3. This relatively small predicted volume explains why the heat generated from the very tip of the scalpel is unable to cause extensive damage to the tissue adjacent to the incision site. The scalpel exposes the target region to an RF field in 60 ms pulses until a temperature of around 100 °C is reached. This process leads to desiccation where the tissue is characterized by a significantly low electrical conductivity, which prevents further heating and charring. Subsequently, the incision is created from the mechanical scraping process that follows.