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During monopolar electrosurgery metal plates with large surface area (e.g. 100 cm2) are used to draw off the current applied for cutting or coagulation by the active electrode. These are flexible plates applied on the buttocks or round the leg of patients undergoing surgery, and are required to achieve a low impedance contact with the skin. This may be achieved by a leg electrode enveloped in cloth soaked in saline, or jelly may be used between the electrode and the skin. Capacitance coupling may also be employed, using electrodes covered with a thin plastic film. A constant worry during electrosurgery is that the indifferent or dispersive electrode may be making poor contact with the skin, or that the lead to it may be disconnected or fractured. One of these problems may be overcome by the use of a fault detection device (often called a Flexoplate monitor) which verifies a conductive contact between the electrosurgery unit and the indifferent plate.
Content and Design Copyright 2000 Dr. Malcolm C Brown. See Title Page for more details