Vol. 10, No. 2
Longer-Lasting Implants Used for Total Hip Replacement
Expands to New Island Hospital
Brachytherapy Expertise Benefits Patients at Winthrop’s Affiliate
New Technology Reduces Pain of Tonsillectomies
Tips for Safe Use of Insect Repellent Containing DEET
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
for Six-Bed Vascular Stepdown Unit
Children’s Health Services Program:
A Wealth of Information and Referrals
Pediatricians on Medical Mission to El Salvador
Stereotactic Technology System Expands the Parameters of ‘What is Operable’
Stroke Team Offers the Latest Treatments
Team Provides New Seizure Control Procedure
MRI Unit Receives Three-Year Accreditation from the American College of Radiology
Emergency Department Receives Adelphi University Award
Ultra-fast, Multi-slice CT Scanner Installed in Radiology Department
Installation of Winthrop’s Auxiliary Officers
Lita Reilly Elected Auxilian of the Year
Annual Junior Volunteer Awards Ceremony
Focus on Home Care:
Care without Compromise Comes Home
In the Swing of Things
Child Life Program Expands Hours and Services
Back to Publications
new type of scalpel that uses ultrasonic energy to coagulate tissue as it cuts is enabling a smoother recovery for children who undergo tonsillectomies. The harmonic scalpel results in less bleeding than
standard surgery, and uses less heat than laser surgery, which translates to far less post-operative pain and a quicker recovery.
Warren H. Zelman, MD (L), Voluntary Attending Surgeon, Section of Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery at Winthrop, checked on two-year-old Cassidy Stiepleman and offered advice to her mom, Kelly, prior to discharging them from Winthrop’s Ambulatory Surgery Unit. Cassidy underwent a tonsillectomy that morning, with Dr. Zelman using a new device, the harmonic scalpel, that dramatically reduces pain and other side effects that can follow tonsillectomy.
“We never want to see a child readmitted to the hospital due to dehydration or pain management,” commented Warren H. Zelman, MD, a Winthrop otolaryngologist who is a proponent of the device. “With the harmonic scalpel, children are able to eat soft foods and drink on day one. Their level of pain is reduced and they heal more rapidly.”
Approximately 600,000 tonsillectomies are performed in the United States each year, making it one of the most common surgical procedures. Primarily done on children, the removal of the tonsils and often the surrounding adenoids reduces the incidence of chronic, recurrent throat infections. While complications related to the procedure are rare, they can include post-operative bleeding. In the past several years, laser technology was implemented to reduce the risk of bleeding, but the heat generated by lasers can damage surrounding tissue, resulting in severe post-operative pain.
The harmonic scalpel uses sound waves to turn electrical energy into mechanical motion, causing the blade to vibrate at 55,500 times per second. This high speed coagulates tissue as it cuts, which reduces bleeding.
“A laser or electrocautery can reach 400 degrees Celsius at the tip, which burns surrounding tissue,” Dr. Zelman explained. “The harmonic scalpel still coagulates, but only reaches about 100 degrees Celsius so there is no charring or burning of tissue.” The result is less damage to nearby tissue, and less sore throat pain after the procedure.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the
harmonic scalpel for ear-nose-throat (ENT) surgery in 1999. Dr. Zelman is one of only a handful of local surgeons using it. “The harmonic scalpel is the perfect instrument for pediatric tonsillectomies,” he stated. “When you have a technique that allows the child to eat and drink immediately, the risk of complications such as dehydration is reduced markedly.”
call (516) 663-2234.