Common uses and cited complications of energy in surgery

Surg Endosc. 2013 Sep;27(9):3056-72. doi: 10.1007/s00464-013-2823-9. Epub 2013 Apr 23.


Background: Instruments that apply energy to cut, coagulate, and dissect tissue with minimal bleeding facilitate surgery. The improper use of energy devices may increase patient morbidity and mortality. The current article reviews various energy sources in terms of their common uses and safe practices.

Methods: For the purpose of this review, a general search was conducted through NCBI, SpringerLink, and Google. Articles describing laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgeries using single or multiple energy sources are considered, as are articles comparing various commercial energy devices in laboratory settings. Keywords, such as laparoscopy, energy, laser, electrosurgery, monopolar, bipolar, harmonic, ultrasonic, cryosurgery, argon beam, laser, complications, and death were used in the search.

Results: A review of the literature shows that the performance of the energy devices depends upon the type of procedure. There is no consensus as to which device is optimal for a given procedure. The technical skill level of the surgeon and the knowledge about the devices are both important factors in deciding safe outcomes.

Conclusions: As new energy devices enter the market increases, surgeons should be aware of their indicated use in laparoscopic, endoscopic, and open surgery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Argon Plasma Coagulation / adverse effects
  • Argon Plasma Coagulation / instrumentation
  • Burns
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects
  • Catheter Ablation / instrumentation
  • Electrical Equipment and Supplies*
  • Electrosurgery / adverse effects
  • Electrosurgery / instrumentation
  • Equipment Safety
  • Fires
  • Hemostasis, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Hemostasis, Surgical / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures / instrumentation*
  • Patient Safety
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects
  • Radiofrequency Therapy
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / adverse effects
  • Ultrasonic Therapy / instrumentation