Electrosurgery Is Dangerous
- Examine the equipment and accessories—DO NOT
— Cables and
accessories with damaged (cracked, burned, or taped) insulation or
— Gelled return electrodes* with dry or discolored
- Be sure that accessories have been reprocessed
and sterilized according to hospital policy.
- Check operation of the return electrode contact
- Be sure that the audible activation indicator
can be heard.
- If possible, don't place the return electrode
near pacemaker leads.
- Keep ECG electrodes far from the surgical site
and the return electrode.
- Keep electrosurgical cables away from the
patient and from monitoring cables.
- Avoid accumulating pools of prepping agents and
other fluids around the patient.
- Don't spark the active electrode**
to ground or to the return electrode.
- Don't continue to increase power settings if
you aren't getting results—look for other problems.
- Place active electrodes in holsters when not in
- Observe appropriate fire precautions when using O2,
or flammable prepping agents, especially in head and neck surgery.
- Activate the unit only when ready to deliver
- Avoid prolonged activation.
- Use the lowest effective ESU output setting.
- Check contact with the return electrode after repositioning the
* Also called ground plate, patient plate, butt
plate, grounding pad, or dispersive pad electrodes.
** Also called pencil, blade, knife, loop, ball, or
active handle electrodes.