Saline-coupled bipolar sealing in simultaneous bilateral total knee arthroplasty.

Clinics in orthopedic surgery

PubMedID: 25177455

Kamath AF, Austin DC, Derman PB, Clement RC, Garino JP, Lee GC. Saline-coupled bipolar sealing in simultaneous bilateral total knee arthroplasty. Clin Orthop Surg. 2014;6(3):298-304.
The efficacy of saline-coupled bipolar sealing devices in joint arthroplasty is uncertain, and the utility in simultaneous bilateral total knee arthroplasty (TKA) has not been reported.

This study compares the use of bipolar sealing and conventional electrocautery in 71 consecutive patients. The experimental and control groups were matched for age, sex, body mass index, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) classification, and preoperative hemoglobin. Variables of interest included blood loss, transfusion requirements, and operative characteristics.

In comparison to patients treated with conventional electrocautery, those treated with the bipolar sealer were 35% less likely to require transfusion. The median number of transfusions per case was also significantly lower in the experimental group. Hemoglobin change, total blood loss, and length of stay were not significantly different between the groups. The experimental group had longer operative times.

Bipolar sealing shows promise as a blood loss reduction tool in simultaneous bilateral TKA. The marginal savings attributed to reduced transfusion rates with use of the bipolar sealer did not exceed the additional per-case expense of using the device. The decision to use the device with the goal of less blood loss must come with the additional expense associated with its use.