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Applications of computers in surgery

scheduling surgical patients, surgeon's preference card, patient charts, surgical records, sterile processing, robotics

W.T. Bovie

1920's physicist who developed the first spark gap tube generator which culminated in the ESU generator now commonly used in surgery

electron theory

principles that govern the behavior of tiny particles known as electrons


anything that has mass and occupies space


center of an atom that contains protons and neutrons


positively charged electric particles


neutral particles


negatively charged particles that revolve around the nucleus in shells or orbits

free electrons

outer electrons whose movement creates electric current


describes the free electrons moving or flowing from the ring of one atom to another


materials that allow the flow of free electrons


most commonly used conductor


materials that inhibit the flow of electrons

OR humidity

should be between 50 and 55% but not less than 45%

electrical charges

can be negative or positive and are defined as too many or too few electrons on an atom respectively

electric current

movement of the electrical charge


can generate an electric current


used to generate magnetism


defines electrical potential


the potential energy of electrons at any given time between two points


the path that electricity travels from the energy source to a device and back to the energy source

components of a circuit

source of power, conductor, load, and switch

current is measured

in amperes or amps


the flow of electric charge or the rate of flow of electrons

Ohm's law

scientific law that pertains to electricity; mathematically explains the relationship between voltage, current (amps), and resistance


the rate at which work is done

hot wire

the wire that supplies electrical current in a circuit to a device

neutral wire

or ground wire; carries electrical current in a circuit away from a device


the application of electrical current through tissue to coagulate or cut tissue

ESU circuit

generator, active electrode, patient, inactive electrode

active electrode

delivers the electric current to the surgical site through the tissue

monopolar mode

the most commonly used mode on the ESU

bipolar mode

used only for coagulation not cutting

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