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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 1999 December;134(6):557-63

Copyright © 1999 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: Italian

Electrical safety in dermatological surgery.

Capella G. L. 2, Altomare G. F. 1, Ciani L. 2

1 Ospedale Maggiore IRCCS - Milano, Istituto di Dermatologia dell’Università; 2 Allievo Ing. Politecnico di Milano - Milano


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Dermatologists use electromedical devices in their daily practice. Electrocoagulation and electrocautery stand out among the most frequently chosen techniques. Anyway, it has been recognized for a long time that the use of such devices may be harmful either to the patient or the caring personnel. Electrical safety principles are reviewed and discussed from a dermosurgical viewpoint, with particular regard to critical items such as correct electrode positioning, macroshock, earthing, isolated devices, and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs, “life-savers”). Suggestions for safe conduct are offered, in order to overcome the danger of accidental burns and electrocution. Indeed, it must be recognized that bureaucratic and legislative requirements are mainly aimed to the regulation of critical contexts of major electrical risk, such as surgical and intensive care departments, where microshock is the major threat. This fact currently hampers the access to the market of new operators. Some deregulation is desirable, so that “minor” electrosurgical practice, which is cheap and effective, gains further diffusion.

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