U.S. Patent Number 9,763,729 - Featured Idaho Patent: Apparatus and method for electrosurgical suction with suction band and replaceable tips

Every Tuesday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office publishes newly granted patents. This blog post is part of a weekly series in which I pick an interesting new patent that has Idaho connections and briefly describe it.

Inventors: Noah Mark Minskoff (Palo Alto, CA), Nathan Andrew Terry (Lowman, ID)

Apparently "surgical smoke" is a danger to surgeons and operating room staff. But where does it come from? This week's featured patent tells us that the "true workhorse" of the surgeon is not the boring old scapel, but the electrocautery device.

Electrocautery devices present several advantages over the older technology, but also bring about at least one disadvantage: the smoke plume that emanates at the surgical site may contain volatile organic compounds that could pose a health hazard to the surgeon and the OR staff. The patent does not mention whether the patient would be in danger as well (but maybe the assumption is that since the patient is the one producing these harmful compounds, it is already too late for that individual).

The device itself is essentially a wand with the electrocautery electrode and one or more smoke intake ports.

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