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Orthopedics. 2013 Feb;36(2):e147-50. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20130122-15.

Sensory neuropathy associated with aggressive cauterization using a bipolar radiofrequency device in primary TKA.

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1
Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa, USA.

Abstract

Because significant postoperative blood loss can result in many complications, hemostasis remains a critical part of successful joint replacement outcomes. Advanced techniques, such as electrocautery use after optimally timed tourniquet release, focus on desired patient blood loss outcomes. The purposes of this study were to report the incidence of nerve injury, identify associated risk factors following the use of bipolar electrocautery for hemostasis in the posterior knee during primary total knee arthroplasty, and compare that rate with the rate seen using a standard electrocautery device. Clinical and operative data were retrospectively reviewed for an association with postoperative nerve injury in 241 consecutive patients when using bipolar electrocautery between July 2007 and October 2008. A comparison group of 192 demographically similar consecutive patients between November 2008 and October 2009 was also evaluated to establish a surgeon-specific benchmark when using standard electrocautery. Seven (2.9%) of 241 patients in the bipolar electrocautery group reported documented neuropathies compared with 1 (0.52%) of 192 patients using standard electrocautery. In addition, female sex and rheumatoid arthritis were associated with postoperative nerve injury following bipolar electrocautery. Although the bipolar radiofrequency device is effective in achieving hemostasis, the authors recommend judicious use of this procedure in women or patients with rheumatoid arthritis and cautious, nonaggressive use of posterior compartment bipolar radiofrequency ablation in the remaining patient populations.

PMID:
23379925
DOI:
10.3928/01477447-20130122-15
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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