Sterilization of the electrode used in electrosurgery has been assumed to occur at the instant of contact of the energized electrode tip to a grounded source. This study evaluated whether the time of electrode activation or the amount of energy delivered is important in the self-sterilization process. Standard bacteriologic culturing techniques were employed to assess sterility of the electrode tip following activation. Total time of application of the current and the energy used were recorded on audiotape and later tabulated. The data indicate that the time of energizing and the energy units used are critical in the sterilization of the electrode tip. These results confirm that self-sterilization of the electrosurgery electrode tip occurs, but full confidence is not realized with the time intervals commonly employed in clinical practice. The electrode tip must be considered a potential source of bacterial contamination of electrosurgically managed dental procedures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine