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Hospital procures `harmonic scalpel'

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE, MARCH 13. Heart patients undergoing surgery can now say goodbye to the scars on their limbs from where vessels are harvested, thanks to the use of the "Harmonic Scalpel" technique.

Vikram Heart and Hospital Centre in Mysore has claimed to be the first heart care hospital in the State to install the high precision harmonic scalpel equipment for heart surgery. The technology entails the use of ultrasonic energy to facilitate minimal incision at the precise point of impact. This was demonstrated by specialists of the hospital here on Saturday at a programme on endoscopic vessel harvesting in cardiac surgeries, which was inaugurated by Vivek Gupta of Escorts Hospital, New Delhi. The specialists demonstrated the advantage of harmonic scalpel through a video presentation, which showed the "superiority" of the equipment when compared to the conventional surgical technique.

Nagendra Prakash, chief cardio-thoracic surgeon of the hospital, said, "We have very good results using the conventional method. We have carried out heart by-pass surgery on more than 300 patients and the mortality rate is as low as 1 per cent. But patients feel post-operative discomfort and cosmetic disfigurement of the body due to the scars on their hands and legs from where the vessels are harvested. This is one of the reasons for investing in the harmonic scalpel, apart from other inherent advantages."

The specialists pointed out that the harmonic scalpel technique was beneficial to heart patients who suffered from diabetes or senior citizens as chances of infection were low and healing of wounds was faster. The other advantages of the technique included faster recovery and fewer complications, according to the specialists. Likewise, post-operative discomfort was eliminated using the technique.

It was pointed out that a slender scar on the wrist, which could be concealed using a wristwatch, would be the only visible evidence of endoscopic radial artery harvesting carried out by the harmonic scalpel. Dr. Gupta said that world over, prominent heart care centres were moving towards endoscopic vessel harvesting by adopting the harmonic scalpel method. The doctors said the cost of the technique had been made affordable.

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