Technical Brief

The Effect of Compression Force Uniformity on Bipolar Tissue Welding

[+] Author and Article Information
Xiaoran Li, Russel Borduin

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712

Roland K. Chen

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering,
Washington State University,
P. O. Box 642920,
Pullman, WA 99164-2920

Wei Li

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: weiwli@austin.utexas.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 2, 2016; final manuscript received December 8, 2016; published online January 30, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Wayne Cai.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 139(5), 054501 (Jan 30, 2017) (5 pages) Paper No: MANU-16-1483; doi: 10.1115/1.4035492 History: Received September 02, 2016; Revised December 08, 2016

Bipolar forceps are a type of electrosurgical device (ESD) widely used for tissue welding in modern surgeries. ESDs have many advantages over traditional surgical tools including reduced blood loss, improved efficiency, and lower surgeon fatigue. However, these devices suffer from tissue sticking and damage due to overheating which leads to poor tissue joint quality. The problem is potentially caused by uneven power distribution due to nonuniform compression applied by the bipolar forceps. In this study, the effect of compression force uniformity was investigated with an experimental setup to achieve a uniform and consistent compression force at the jaws of bipolar forceps. Comparative tissue welding experiments were conducted under both uniform and nonuniform compression force conditions with tissue mimicking material. In situ welding process parameters including compression force, electrical voltage, and current were collected and analyzed to understand the effect of compression force uniformity. The results indicate that tissue impedance is lower due to increased tool–tissue contact area; the electrical power is initially higher during the first few milliseconds of welding. The experimental device developed in this study provides an important platform to understand the difference of tissue welding process under uniform and nonuniform compression force conditions.

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Fig. 1

Gap between the jaws of bipolar forceps

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Fig. 2

Schematic of the experimental setup

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Fig. 3

The fixture used for uniform compression (a) and the insulation block (b)

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Fig. 4

Setup for force, voltage, and current measurement of (a) uniform compression and (b) nonuniform compression

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Fig. 5

Force profile across the jaws of traditional bipolar forceps

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Fig. 6

Real-time force measurements for (a) low, (b) median, and (c) high force levels

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Fig. 7

Magnitudes of impedance for (a) low force level and (b) median force level

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Fig. 8

Magnitudes of impedance for (a) uniform compression and (b) traditional bipolar forceps

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Fig. 9

Comparison of RMS power at low force level



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