Ultrasonic energy was first used in the medical field for the treatment of Meniere’s disease in 1960. Use of ultrasonic energy for simultaneous cutting and cauterizing (sealing) of tissues was reported in 1980, wherein the technique was employed for laparoscopic cholecystectomy in over 200 patients successfully. Harmonic scalpel is an ultrasonic surgical equipment used as an alternative for other surgical scalpels or electro-surgical diathermy to cut and cauterize tissues during surgeries.
Harmonic ultrasound technology and its dissection capability was first demonstrated in 1998, when ‘harmonic scalpel shears’ were introduced by Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson). A harmonic scalpel typically consists of a hand-held transducer, hand switch, foot pedal, scalpel or blade (cutting instrument), and generator. The basic working principle of harmonic scalpel is conversion of ultrasonic energy into mechanical energy. Energy conversion takes place at the active blade delivering high-grade frictional force, while the tissue is held in apposition by the inactive upper arm. The active scalpel cuts through the tissue using low-frequency ultrasonic vibrations in the range of 20–60 kHz. The vessel sealing is enabled by de-natured protein coagulum achieved due to tamponade and co-aptation
Introduction of technologically advanced harmonic scalpel equipment through research and development is expected to drive the harmonic scalpel market during the forecast period. For instance, ARMONIC ACE +7 Shears is the latest harmonic scalpel offered by Ethicon. It is the first ultrasonic energy device with an indication of 7 mm vessel sealing capacity. It is popular for its advanced hemostasis and adaptive tissue technology enabling high vessel sealing capacity and providing multfunctionality with fine precision, respectively. Increasing adoption of harmonic scalpels over conventional steel scalpels and electrosurgical devices is likely to boost the harmonic scalpel market during the forecast period. Harmonic scalpel is considered a better alternative to surgical diathermy, as it causes less thermal damage.