Evaluation of the harmonic scalpel in open surgery for abdominal aortic aneurysm
Department of Vascular Surgery, Guangdong General Hospital, Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, Guangzhou 510080, China
The harmonic scalpel is a hemostatic device primarily designed for use in laparoscopic surgery. During the last few years, many surgeons have begun to use the harmonic scalpel in open surgery. Several papers have cited the benefits of the device compared with conventional knot-tying techniques; however, no evidence showing the advantages of using the harmonic scalpel in complicated abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) surgery has been presented. The aim of the present study is to determine the value of the harmonic scalpel in open operation for AAA. A total of 153 patients who underwent open surgery for AAA at the Department of Vascular Surgery of Guangdong General Hospital, China between January 2001 and December 2010, were retrospectively analyzed. Open surgery performed with the harmonic scalpel on 105 patients was compared with open operation using conventional knot-tying techniques on 48 patients. The operative time, intraoperative blood loss, total postoperative drainage fluid volumes, hospital stay, and postoperative complications between the two groups were compared. The harmonic scalpel group was associated with a shorter operation time (113.2±23.6 min vs. 232.1±39.2 min, P<0.01) and lower intraoperative blood loss (126.1±96.6 ml vs. 592.1±207.2 ml, P<0.01). Postoperative drainage fluid volumes were greater in the conventional surgery group than in the harmonic scalpel group (702.1±192.8 ml vs. 198.5±97.4 ml, P<0.01). The hospital stay was shorter for the harmonic scalpel group than for the conventional surgery group (10.7±3.3 d vs. 16.5±4.7 d, P<0.05). No differences between the postoperative complications or hospital mortality of the two groups were found. The harmonic scalpel is a safe and minimally invasive tool in open surgery for AAA and is associated with shorter operative time, shorter hospital stay, and lower intraoperative blood loss and postoperative drainage fluid volumes compared with conventional knot-tying techniques.