US 20100152726 A1
Electrosurgical system with selective control of active and return electrodes. At least some of the illustrative embodiments are systems comprising an electrosurgical wand and an electrosurgical controller. The wand comprises a non-conductive outer surface, at least three electrodes disposed on a distal end of the wand, and at least three electrical leads extending from a proximal end of the wand (one electrical lead electrically coupled to each electrode). The controller comprises a voltage generator and a control circuit coupled between the voltage generator and the electrodes of the wand. The control circuit is configured to: selectively electrically couple the active terminal singly and in combination to the electrodes of the wand; and selectively electrically couple the return terminal singly and in combination to electrodes of the wand.
1. A system comprising:
a wand comprising a non-conductive outer surface, at least three electrodes disposed on a distal end of the wand, and at least three electrical leads extending from a proximal end of the wand, one electrical lead electrically coupled to each electrode; and
a controller comprising:
a controller connector coupled to the electrical leads;
a voltage generator configured to generate voltage of varying amplitude, the voltage generator has an active terminal and a return terminal; and
a control circuit coupled between the controller connector and the voltage generator;
the control circuit configured to selectively electrically couple the active terminal singly and in combination to the electrodes of the wand; and
the control circuit configured to selectively electrically couple the return terminal singly and in combination to electrodes of the wand.
2. The system of
3. The system of
4. The system of
5. The system of
a wand connector coupled to the electrical leads, the wand connector comprising at least three electrical pins, one pin electrically coupled to each electrical lead;
wherein the controller connector and wand connector are configured to couple in only one orientation.
6. The system of
7. The system of
8. The system of
9. The system of
10. An electrosurgical wand comprising:
an elongate shaft that defines a proximal end and a distal end, at least a portion of the exterior surface comprising non-conductive material;
a connector comprising a plurality of pins;
a first electrode disposed on the distal end of the elongate shaft, and a first electrical lead electrically coupled to the first electrode and a first pin of the connector;
a second electrode disposed on the distal end of the elongate shaft, and a second electrical lead electrically coupled to the second electrode and a second pin of the connector; and
a third electrode disposed on the distal end of the elongate shaft, and a third electrical lead electrically coupled to the third electrode and a third pin of the connector;
each electrode defines a center, and distances between centers are fixed; and
wherein each electrode is configured to be selectively coupled to a high frequency voltage generator as an active electrode and as a return electrode.
11. The electrosurgical wand of
12. The electrosurgical wand of
13. The electrosurgical wand of
14. The electrosurgical wand of
15. The electrosurgical wand of
16. An electrosurgical controller comprising:
a first connector disposed on an outer surface of the electrosurgical controller, the first connector configured to couple to a connector of an electrosurgical wand, and the first connector comprising at least three electrical pins;
a voltage generator configured to generate a selectable alternating current (AC) output voltage, the voltage generator has a active terminal and a return terminal;
a control circuit coupled between the first connector and the voltage generator, the control circuit configured to selectively electrically couple the active terminal singly or in combination to the electrical pins of the first connector; and
the control circuit configured to selectively electrically couple the return terminal singly or in combination to the electrical pins of the first connector.
17. The electrosurgical controller of
18. The electrosurgical controller of
19. The electrosurgical controller of
a second connector disposed on the outer surface of the electrosurgical controller, the second connector configured to couple to a pedal device;
the control circuit is configured to select a configuration of electrically coupling the active and return terminals to the electrical pins based on the actuation of the pedal.
20. The electrosurgical controller of
an interface panel visible on the outer surface of the electrosurgical controller, and the interface panel electrically coupled to the control circuit;
the control circuit is configured to select a configuration of electrically coupling the active and return terminals to the electrical pins based on a user's interaction with the interface panel.
21. A method comprising:
treating a first portion of a target tissue with an electrosurgical wand electrically coupled to a controller by a connector, wherein treating the first portion comprises generating a current path between a first electrode of the wand as an active electrode, and a second electrode and a third electrode of the wand as return electrodes; and without de-coupling the connector from the controller;
electrically isolating the first, second, and third electrodes;
activating the third electrode of the electrosurgical wand as an active electrode;
activating a fourth electrode of the electrosurgical wand and at least one of the first and second electrodes as return electrodes, the fourth electrode different than the first and second electrodes; and then treating a second portion of the target tissue with the electrosurgical wand, wherein treating the second portion comprises generating a current path between the third and fourth electrodes and the at least one of the first and second electrodes.
22. The method of
23. The method of
24. The method of
25. An electrosurgical wand comprising:
an elongate shaft that defines a proximal end and a distal end;
a connector comprising a plurality of pins;
at least two first electrodes disposed on the distal end of the elongate shaft;
at least two second electrodes disposed on the distal end of the elongate shaft;
wherein each of the electrodes is electrically coupled to one of the plurality of pins via an electrical lead;
wherein each of the at least two first electrodes have a surface area less than three-quarters the surface area of each of the at least two second electrodes; and
wherein in a first mode the at least two first electrodes are coupled to a high frequency voltage generator as active electrodes and the at least two second electrodes are coupled to the voltage generator as return electrodes.
26. The electrosurgical wand of
Electrosurgical systems are used by physicians to perform specific functions during surgical procedures. For example, in an ablation mode electrosurgical systems use high frequency electrical energy to remove soft tissue such as sinus tissue, adipose tissue, or meniscus, cartilage and/or sinovial tissue in a joint. In a coagulation mode, the electrosurgical device may aid the surgeon in reducing internal bleeding by assisting in the coagulation and/or sealing of vessels.
However, while the mode of operation of an electrosurgical system is controlled to some extent by the voltage applied to the electrodes of an electrosurgical wand, the physical size and placement of electrodes on the electrosurgical wand also affect operation. For example, in an ablation mode, a relatively small active electrode conducting current to a proximally-located larger return electrode may be preferred to very precisely control the tissue ablated. By contrast, in a coagulation mode, relatively large active and return electrodes, perhaps along the side of an electrosurgical wand and yet still proximate to the distal end, may be preferred to ensure larger surface area for coagulation.
In some situations, a surgeon may choose to change electrosurgical wands as between, for example, an ablation of tissue and a coagulation procedure. In other situations, an electrosurgical system may have the ability to change between an ablation and coagulation mode by controlling the active electrode on the electrosurgical wand and/or the voltage output of the controller. However, any advance that increases the functionality of an electrosurgical system provides competitive advantage.
For a detailed description of exemplary embodiments of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:
Certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular system components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, companies that design and manufacture electrosurgical systems may refer to a component by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components that differ in name but not function.
In the following discussion and in the claims, the terms “including” and “comprising” are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean “including, but not limited to . . . .” Also, the term “couple” or “couples” is intended to mean either an indirect or direct connection. Thus, if a first device couples to a second device, that connection may be through a direct connection or through an indirect electrical connection via other devices and connections.
Reference to a singular item includes the possibility that there are plural of the same items present. More specifically, as used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” “said” and “the” include plural references unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. It is further noted that the claims may be drafted to exclude any optional element. As such, this statement serves as antecedent basis for use of such exclusive terminology as “solely,” “only” and the like in connection with the recitation of claim elements, or use of a “negative” limitation. Lastly, it is to be appreciated that unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs.
“Active electrode” shall mean an electrode of an electrosurgical wand which produces an electrically-induced tissue-altering effect when brought into contact with, or close proximity to, a tissue targeted for treatment, and/or an electrode having a voltage induced thereon by a voltage generator, power generator, or other suitable energy source.
“Return electrode” shall mean an electrode of an electrosurgical wand which serves to provide a current flow path for electrons with respect to an active electrode, and/or an electrode of an electrical surgical wand which may not itself produce an electrically-induced tissue-altering effect on tissue targeted for treatment.
“Proximate” shall mean, in relation to spacing of electrodes on a wand, within 5 centimeters, and in some cases less than 1 centimeter.
Where a range of values is provided, it is understood that every intervening value, between the upper and lower limit of that range and any other stated or intervening value in that stated range is encompassed within the invention. Also, it is contemplated that any optional feature of the inventive variations described may be set forth and claimed independently, or in combination with any one or more of the features described herein.
All existing subject matter mentioned herein (e.g., publications, patents, patent applications and hardware) is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety except insofar as the subject matter may conflict with that of the present invention (in which case what is present herein shall prevail). The referenced items are provided solely for their disclosure prior to the filing date of the present application. Nothing herein is to be construed as an admission that the present invention is not entitled to antedate such material by virtue of prior invention.
Before the various embodiments are described in detail, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to particular variations set forth herein as various changes or modifications may be made, and equivalents may be substituted, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. As will be apparent to those of skill in the art upon reading this disclosure, each of the individual embodiments described and illustrated herein has discrete components and features which may be readily separated from or combined with the features of any of the other several embodiments without departing from the scope or spirit of the present invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation, material, composition of matter, process, process act(s) or step(s) to the objective(s), spirit or scope of the present invention. All such modifications are intended to be within the scope of the claims made herein.
As shown in
Still referring to
The electrosurgical system 100 of the various embodiments may have a variety of operational modes. One such mode employs Coblation® technology. In particular, the assignee of the present disclosure is the owner of Coblation® technology. Coblation® technology involves the application of a RF signal between one or more active electrodes and one or more return electrodes of the wand 102 to develop high electric field intensities within conductive fluid in the vicinity of the target tissue sufficient to volumetrically dissociate or otherwise ablate tissue. The electric field intensities may be sufficient to vaporize an electrically conductive fluid over at least a portion of the one or more active electrodes in the region between the one or more active electrodes and the target tissue. The electrically conductive fluid may be inherently present in the body, such as blood, or in some cases extracelluar or intracellular fluid. In other embodiments, the electrically conductive fluid may be a liquid or gas, such as isotonic saline. In some embodiments the electrically conductive fluid is delivered in the vicinity of the active electrodes and/or to the target site by the wand 102, such as by way of the internal passage and flexible tubular member 116.
When the electrically conductive fluid is heated to the point that the atoms of the fluid vaporize faster than the atoms recondense, a gas is formed. When sufficient energy is applied to the gas, the atoms collide with each other causing a release of electrons in the process, and an ionized gas or plasma is formed (the so-called “fourth state of matter”). Stated otherwise, plasmas may be formed by heating a gas and ionizing the gas by driving an electric current through the gas, or by directing electromagnetic waves into the gas. The methods of plasma formation give energy to free electrons in the plasma directly, electron-atom collisions liberate more electrons, and the process cascades until the desired degree of ionization is achieved. A more complete description of plasma can be found in Plasma Physics, by R. J. Goldston and P. H. Rutherford of the Plasma Physics Laboratory of Princeton University (1995), the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
As the density of the plasma becomes sufficiently low (i.e., less than approximately 1020 atoms/cm3 for aqueous solutions), the electron mean free path increases such that subsequently injected electrons cause impact ionization within the plasma. When the ionic particles in the plasma layer have sufficient energy (e.g., 3.5 electron-Volt (eV) to 5 eV), collisions of the ionic particles with molecules that make up the target tissue break molecular bonds of the target tissue, dissociating molecules into free radicals which then combine into gaseous or liquid species. Often, the electrons in the plasma carry the electrical current or absorb the electromagnetic waves and, therefore, are hotter than the ionic particles. Thus, the electrons, which are carried away from the target tissue toward the active or return electrodes, carry most of the plasma's heat, enabling the ionic particles to break apart the target tissue molecules in a substantially non-thermal manner.
By means of the molecular dissociation (as opposed to thermal evaporation or carbonization), the target tissue is volumetrically removed through molecular dissociation of larger organic molecules into smaller molecules and/or atoms, such as hydrogen, oxygen, oxides of carbon, hydrocarbons and nitrogen compounds. The molecular dissociation completely removes the tissue structure, as opposed to dehydrating the tissue material by the removal of liquid within the cells of the tissue and extracellular fluids, as occurs in related art electrosurgical desiccation and vaporization. A more detailed description of the molecular dissociation can be found in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. No. 5,697,882 the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
In addition to the Coblation® mode, the electrosurgical system 100 of
The energy density produced by electrosurgical system 100 at the distal end 108 of the wand 102 may be varied by adjusting a variety of factors, such as: the number of active electrodes; electrode size and spacing; electrode surface area; asperities and/or sharp edges on the electrode surfaces; electrode materials; applied voltage; current limiting of one or more electrodes (e.g., by placing an inductor in series with an electrode); electrical conductivity of the fluid in contact with the electrodes; density of the conductive fluid; and other factors. Accordingly, these factors can be manipulated to control the energy level of the excited electrons. Since different tissue structures have different molecular bonds, the electrosurgical system 100 may be configured to produce energy sufficient to break the molecular bonds of certain tissue but insufficient to break the molecular bonds of other tissue. For example, fatty tissue (e.g., adipose) has double bonds that require an energy level higher than 4 eV to 5 eV (i.e., on the order of about 8 eV) to break. Accordingly, the Coblation® technology in some operational modes does not ablate such fatty tissue; however, the Coblation® technology at the lower energy levels may be used to effectively ablate cells to release the inner fat content in a liquid form. Other modes may have increased energy such that the double bonds can also be broken in a similar fashion as the single bonds (e.g., increasing voltage or changing the electrode configuration to increase the current density at the electrodes).
A more complete description of the various phenomena can be found in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,355,032, 6,149,120 and 6,296,136, the complete disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.
Still referring to
In accordance with the various embodiments, while a wand 102 may be designed to have a multitude of electrode types and arrangements, in at least some embodiments the electrodes are in a fixed relationship for any one design. For example, the center-to-center distance “D” of illustrative electrodes 212 and 214 is set by the design of the particular wand 102, and remains constant as between use and non-use. Similar fixed relationships exist between all the illustrative electrodes of wand 102. Furthermore, while a wand 102 may be designed to have a multitude of exposed electrode surface areas, in at least some embodiments at least one electrode has a surface area less than three-quarters the surface area of another electrode. In the illustrative case of
In at least some embodiments, in ablation modes (using, for example, Coblation® technology as discussed herein) the one or more return electrodes are spaced proximally from the one or more active electrodes a suitable distance to avoid electrical shorting between the electrodes when in the presence of electrically conductive fluid. In many cases, the distal edge of the exposed surface of the closest return electrode is about between about 0.5 milli-meters (mm) to about 25 mm from the proximal edge of the exposed surface of the closest active electrode, and in some embodiments between about 1.0 mm to 5.0 mm. For example, electrode 208 may be selected to be a return electrode and electrode 210 may be selected to be an active electrode, and the axial distance between electrode 208 and 210 may be in the range of 0.5 mm to 25 mm. As yet another example using the Coblation® technology, one, two or all the wire-type electrodes 202, 204 and 206 may be active, and electrode 210 (which was the active electrode in the previous example) may be the return electrode. In the second example, the axial distance between the active electrode(s) and the return electrode 210 may be 0.5 mm to 25 mm. As yet another example, electrodes 202 and 206 may be return electrodes, with any of the electrodes 204, 208, or 210 being active. The distances may vary with different voltage ranges, conductive fluids, and proximity of tissue structures to available active and return electrodes. In some embodiments, return electrode may have an exposed length in the range of about 1 mm to 20 mm.
As alluded to by the examples of preceding paragraph, in accordance with at least some embodiments, any single electrode or combination of multiple electrodes may be selected as the active electrode for a particular mode of operation. Likewise in accordance with at least some embodiments, any single electrode or combination of multiple electrodes may be selected as the return electrode for a particular mode of operation. However, in any scenario discussed above, at least one electrode shall be selected as an active electrode and at least one electrode shall be selected as a return electrode. It follows that, in accordance with various embodiments, most if not all electrodes of wand 102 are preferably electrically isolated from each other, and thus have individual electrical leads that run from each electrode to the wand connector 114.
The power provided to the wand 102 may be current limited or otherwise controlled so that undesired heating of the target tissue or surrounding (non-target) tissue does not occur. In some embodiments, current limiting inductors are placed in series with some or all the electrodes, where the inductance of each inductor is in the range of 10 micro-Henries (pH) to 50,000 pH, depending on the electrical properties of the target tissue, the desired tissue heating rate and the operating frequency. Alternatively, inductor-capacitor (LC) circuit structures may be employed, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,697,909, the complete disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. Additionally, current-limiting resistors may be selected. The current-limiting resistors will have a large positive temperature coefficient of resistance so that, as the current level begins to rise for any individual active electrode in contact with a low resistance medium (e.g., saline or blood), the resistance of the current limiting resistor increases significantly, thereby reducing the power delivery from the active electrode into the low resistance medium. In some embodiments, the current limited devices may reside within the elongate shaft 106, or may reside within the flexible cable 112.
As illustrated in
While illustrative wand connector 114 is shown to have the tab 400 and male electrical pins 402, and controller connector 120 is shown to have the slot 500 and female electrical pins 502, in alternative embodiments the wand connector has the female electrical pins and slot, and the controller connector 120 has the tab and male electrical pins. In other embodiments, the arrangement of the pins within the connectors may enable only a single orientation for connection of the connectors, and thus the tab and slot arrangement may be omitted. In yet still other embodiments, other suitable mechanical arrangements to ensure the wand connector and controller connector couple in only one orientation may be equivalently used.
ROM 602 stores instructions executable by the processor 600. In particular, the ROM 602 may comprise a software code that implements the various embodiments of selectively coupling the electrodes of the wand to the voltage generator 616, as well as interfacing with the user by way of the display device 614 and/or the foot pedal assembly 130 (
Voltage generator 616 generates selectable alternating current (AC) voltages that are applied to the electrodes of the wand 102. In some embodiments, the voltage generator defines an active terminal 624 and a return terminal 626. The active terminal 624 is the terminal upon which the voltages and electrical currents are induced by the voltage generator 616, and the return terminal 626 provides a return path for electrical currents. In some embodiments, the return terminal 626 may provide a common or ground being the same as the common or ground within the balance of the controller 104 (e.g., the common 628 used on push-buttons 622), but in other embodiments the voltage generator 616 may be electrically “floated” from the balance of the supply power in the controller 104, and thus the return terminal 626, when measured with respect to the common (e.g., common 628) within the controller 104, may show a voltage difference; however, an electrically floated voltage generator 616 and thus the potential for voltage readings on the return terminal 626 does not negate the return terminal status of the terminal 626 relative to the active terminal 624.
The voltage generated and applied between the active terminal 624 and return terminal 626 by the voltage generator 616 is a RF signal that, in some embodiments, has a frequency of between about 5 kilo-Hertz (kHz) and 20 Mega-Hertz (MHz), in some cases being between about 30 kHz and 2.5 MHz, preferably being between about 50 kHz and 500 kHz, often less than 350 kHz, and often between about 100 kHz and 200 kHz. In some applications, a frequency of about 100 kHz is useful because target tissue impedance is much greater at 100 kHz. In other applications, such as procedures in or around the heart or head and neck, higher frequencies may be desirable (e.g., 400-600 kHz) to reduce low frequency current flow into the heart or the nerves of the head and neck.
The RMS (root mean square) voltage generated by the voltage generator 616 may be in the range from about 5 Volts (V) to 1000 V, preferably being in the range from about 10 V to 500 V, often between about 10 V to 400 V depending on the active electrode size, the operating frequency and the operation mode of the particular procedure or desired effect on the tissue (i.e., contraction, coagulation, cutting or ablation). The peak-to-peak voltage generated by the voltage generator 616 for ablation or cutting in some embodiments is a square wave form in the range of 10 V to 2000 V and in some cases in the range of 100 V to 1800 V and in other cases in the range of about 28 V to 1200 V, often in the range of about 100 V to 320V peak-to-peak (again, depending on the electrode size, number of electrodes the operating frequency and the operation mode). Lower peak-to-peak voltage is used for tissue coagulation, thermal heating of tissue, or collagen contraction and may be in the range from 50 V to 1500V, preferably 100 V to 1000 V and more preferably 60 V to 130 V peak-to-peak (again, these values are computed using a square wave form).
The voltage and current generated by the voltage generator 616 may be delivered in a series of voltage pulses or AC voltage with a sufficiently high frequency (e.g., on the order of 5 kHz to 20 MHz) such that the voltage is effectively applied continuously (as compared with, e.g., lasers claiming small depths of necrosis, which are pulsed about 10 Hz to 20 Hz). In addition, the duty cycle (i.e., cumulative time in any one-second interval that energy is applied) of the square wave voltage produced by the voltage generator 616 is on the order of about 50% for some embodiments as compared with pulsed lasers which may have a duty cycle of about 0.0001%. Although square waves are generated and provided in some embodiments, the various embodiments may be equivalently implemented with many applied voltage waveforms (e.g., sinusoidal, triangular).
Still referring to the voltage generator 616, the voltage generator 616 delivers average power levels ranging from several milliwatts to hundreds of watts per electrode, depending on the voltage applied to the target electrode for the target tissue being treated, and/or the maximum allowed temperature selected for the wand 102. The voltage generator 616 is configured to enable a user to select the voltage level according to the specific requirements of a particular neurosurgery procedure, cardiac surgery, arthroscopic surgery, dermatological procedure, ophthalmic procedures, open surgery or other endoscopic surgery procedure. For cardiac procedures and potentially for neurosurgery, the voltage generator 616 may have a filter that filters leakage voltages at frequencies below 100 kHz, particularly voltages around 60 kHz. Alternatively, a voltage generator 616 configured for higher operating frequencies (e.g., 300 kHz to 600 kHz) may be used in certain procedures in which stray low frequency currents may be problematic. A description of one suitable voltage generator 616 can be found in commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,142,992 and 6,235,020, the complete disclosure of both patents are incorporated herein by reference for all purposes.
In accordance with at least some embodiments, the voltage generator 616 is configured to limit or interrupt current flow when low resistivity material (e.g., blood, saline or electrically conductive gel) causes a lower impedance path between the return electrode(s) and the active electrode(s). Further still, in some embodiments the voltage generator 616 is configured by the user to be a constant current source (i.e., the output voltage changes as function of the impedance encountered at the wand 102).
In some embodiments, the various operational modes of the voltage generator 616 may be controlled by way of digital-to-analog converter 606. That is, for example, the processor 600 may control the output voltage by providing a variable voltage to the voltage generator 616, where the voltage provided is proportional to the voltage generated by the voltage generator 616. In other embodiments, the processor 600 may communicate with the voltage generator by way of one or more digital output signals from the digital output 608 device, or by way of packet based communications using the communication 612 device (the alternative embodiments not specifically shown so as not to unduly complicate
In addition to controlling the output of the voltage generator 616, in accordance with the various embodiments the controller 104 is also configured to selectively electrically couple the active terminal 624 singly or in combination to the electrodes of the wand (by way of the electrical pins of the controller connector 120). Likewise, in the various embodiments, the controller 104 is also configured to selectively electrically couple the return terminal 626 singly or in combination to the electrodes of the wand (again by way of the electrical pins of the controller connector 120). In order to perform the selective coupling, the controller 104 implements a control circuit 630, shown in dashed lines in
In accordance with at least some embodiments, at least three electrodes of the wand 102 are separately electrically coupled to the controller 104. Thus, the description of
Similarly, the electrical lead configured to couple illustrative electrode 2 couples to the normally open contact terminals for the mechanical relays R3 and R4. The other side of the normally open contact for mechanical relay R3 couples to the active terminal 624, while the other side of the normally open contact for the mechanical relay R4 couples to the return terminal 626. Thus, by selectively activating mechanical relay R3 or mechanical relay R4, electrode 2 can be either an active or return electrode in the surgical procedure. Alternatively, both relays R3 and R4 can remain inactivated, and thus electrode 2 may remain unconnected. Finally with respect to the illustrative electrode 3, the electrical lead configured to couple to illustrative electrode 3 couples to the normally open contact terminals for the mechanical relays R5 and R6. The other side of the normally open contact for mechanical relay R5 couples to the active terminal 624, while the opposite side of the normally open contact for the mechanical relay R6 couples to the return terminal 626. Thus, by selectively activating mechanical relay R5 or mechanical relay R6, electrode 3 can be either an active or return electrode in the surgical procedure. Alternatively, both relays can remain inactivated, and thus electrode 3 may remain unconnected.
In accordance with at least some embodiments, mechanical relays R1-R6 are selectively activated (by way of their respective coils 634) by voltage controlled switches 620. For example, when the control circuit 630 desires to couple the active terminal to electrode 1, the voltage controlled switch 620A is activated, which allows current to flow through the coil 634A of mechanical relay R1. Current flow through the coil 634 activates the relay, thus closing (making conductive) the normally open contacts. Similarly, the control circuit 630 may selectively activate any of the voltage controlled switches 620, which in turn activate respective mechanical relays R1-R6. In accordance with at least some embodiments, each mechanical relay is a part number JW1FSN-DC 12V relay available from Panasonic Corporation of Secaucus, N.J.; however, other mechanical relays may be equivalently used. Moreover, while
The selection of which electrode(s) of the wand 102 be active electrodes, and which electrode(s) to be return electrodes, may be determined in any of several forms. For example, a user may observe options for electrode selection by way of the display device 124, and may select particular options by interaction with the controller 104 by way of push buttons 126. In other embodiments, selection of particular electrodes as active or return may be made way of foot pedal assembly 102. In the embodiments illustrated in
In order to illustrate the flexibility of the electrosurgical system in accordance with the various embodiments, the table below shows the possible status of each electrode in a system having an illustrative three electrodes:
The above discussion is meant to be illustrative of the principles and various embodiments of the present invention. Numerous variations and modifications possible. For example, while three or more electrodes may have the ability to be either active, return or isolated, other electrodes may be present without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. Moreover, two electrodes may be electrically coupled within the wand 102, such that the coupled electrodes act as single electrode from the perspective of the controller, with the ability to be active, return or isolated. Further still, the system may provide audible feedback to the user as to the selected electrode configuration and/or voltage output level. For example, in
While preferred embodiments of this disclosure have been shown and described, modifications thereof can be made by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or teaching herein. The embodiments described herein are exemplary only and are not limiting. Because many varying and different embodiments may be made within the scope of the present inventive concept, including equivalent structures, materials, or methods hereafter though of, and because many modifications may be made in the embodiments herein detailed in accordance with the descriptive requirements of the law, it is to be understood that the details herein are to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.