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Obermeier, Katharina Theresa; Liokatis, Paris; Smolka, Wenko (2023): Monopolar electrocautery versus sharp dissection in the neck dissection: a retrospective study. Scientific Reports, 13 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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The cold scalpel/scissors (CS) and the monopolar electrocautery (ME) are still the most commonly used instruments for neck dissection in head and neck oncology. However, a direct comparison of these techniques does not exist. This study aims to compare these techniques concerning blood loss, the decline of hemoglobin levels, and surgery duration. Data on 200 patients who received tumor resection, neck dissection and either a radial forearm free flap (RFFF)or a primary closure (PC) were examined retrospectively. The patients were divided according to the performed defect closure (RFFF or PC) and the main instrument usedfor the beck dissection (Group 1: RFFF and ME, Group 2: RFFF and CS, Group 3: PC and ME Group 4: PC and CS). The intraoperative blood loss, decline of hemoglobin values and surgery duration were analyzed and compared between the corresponding groups. The patients where the ME was used lost on average 409.93 ml (group 1 vs. 2) and 242.4 ml (group 3 vs. 4) less blood. The median decrease in the hemoglobin levels was by 1.01 g/dL (group 1 vs. 2) and 0.85 g/dL (group 3 vs. 4) lower for the ME. The median surgery duration was by 102 min (group 1 vs. 2) and 83 min (group 3 vs. 4) shorterfor the ME. All differences were statistically significant. Traditional scalpel and scissors used for neck dissection lead to significantly higher blood loss and longer operation time than the monopolar electrocautery.

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