Electrosurgery: short-circuit between education and practice

Frederique Meeuwsen, A.C.P. Guédon, Jan Klein, Maarten van der Elst, Jenny Dankelman, John van den Dobbelsteen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
59 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Electrosurgery is used in 80% of surgical procedures. The technique allows surgeons to skilfully dissect tissues and achieve haemostasis. Since improper use of electrosurgery can lead to serious adverse events, training is required to potentially reduce the number and severity of these events. In this study we evaluate education and training in electrosurgery for surgical residents. Material and methods: Residents from six surgical subspecialties in the Netherlands were invited to anonymously complete a digital questionnaire about training, supervision and adverse events regarding electrosurgery. Results: Of the 197 respondents, 69% had received some form of training; mostly a single theoretical lecture. The feeling of competence in theory and practical skills was positively rated by 39% and 71%, respectively. Moreover, 35% judged the theoretical knowledge of their supervisors as insufficient and 65% changed their electrosurgical application technique to the preference of the supervisor. 30% of the residents had encountered a serious adverse event (e.g., burn wounds) related to the application of electrosurgery. Conclusions: The training of residents in theoretical aspects of electrosurgery is limited. Residents are not satisfied with the acquired theoretical knowledge of themselves and of their supervisors. Since adverse events related to electrosurgery occur frequently, more extensive education for both residents and their supervisors is needed to enhance patient safety
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-253
JournalMinimally Invasive Therapy and Allied Technologies
Volume28 (2019)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Phoenix foundation DSW zorgverzekeraar, Schiedam, The Netherlands.


  • Electrosurgery
  • patient safety
  • surgical training
  • residents
  • education
  • incidents


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