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SVS Deo, NK Shukla, S Asthana, B Niranjan, G Srinivas
Correspondence: Dr N K Shukla, email@example.com
Aim The harmonic scalpel is recently emerging as an alternative surgical tool for dissection and haemostasis and has been extensively used in the field of minimally invasive surgery. We studied the utility and advantages of this instrument over electrocautery for performing modified radical mastectomy.
Methods The operative and morbidity details of twenty-three breast cancer patients who underwent modified radical mastectomy using the harmonic scalpel were compared with 23 matched controls operated with electrocautery by the same surgical team.
Results There was no significant difference in the operating time between the harmonic scalpel and electrocautery group (104 and 100 mins, p > 0.05). The blood loss (60 +/- 35 ml and 294 +/- 155, p < 0.001) and drainage volume (590 +/- 430 ml and 1,085 +/- 690 ml, p < 0.001) were significantly lower in the harmonic scalpel group. There was a significant reduction of drain days in harmonic scalpel group (mean five and nine days, p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the seroma rate between two groups (16% and 22%).
Conclusion Modified radical mastectomy using harmonic scalpel is feasible and learning curve is short. Harmonic scalpel significantly reduces the blood loss and duration of drainage as compared to electrocautery.
Keywords: Modified radical mastectomy (MRM), harmonic scalpel
Singapore Med J 2002; 43(5): 226-228