Karen Stierman, M.D., an otolaryngologist and founder of the ENT Center of Austin, Texas, doesn't leave anything to chance when it comes to the care and comfort of her patients. With her focus on safety, she was dissatisfied with the functionality of the technology that she was using for tonsillectomy and uvulectomy procedures.

"I was using a Bovie® cauterization technique followed by suction cautery to address additional bleeding points," said Dr. Stierman. "Because the device doesn't allow you to grasp the back end of a vessel, it presents the risk that you will go right through the vessel without sealing it, which can lead to post-operative bleeding. At times, this requires more cauterization and every time that you pick up the cautery, you are inducing an additional thermal effect to the surrounding tissue, increasing post-operative pain."

A Precise, Effective Solution
In August 2011, with an eye on new technology that would reduce bleeding and discomfort for her patients, Dr. Stierman met with a representative from Microline Surgical, formerly Starion Instruments. The company's ENTceps® is designed specifically for procedures where fine precision, soft tissue fusing and dividing is required, such as tonsillectomy, parotidectomy, thyroidectomy and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty.

"The reduction in collateral tissue damage may play into less pain for the patient, less scabs to fall off and less post-operative bleeding.

"I'm not one to leave things to chance, so the preciseness of ENTceps really appealed to me," said Dr. Stierman. "With ENTceps, I actually have control of the vessels before I'm going through them and pre-sealing them. I believe this may lead to less post-operative bleeding in the future."

The key to ENTceps' effectiveness and safety can be found in Microline's patented Thermal Fusion technology. Unlike conventional devices that use monopolar, bipolar or ultrasonic energy as modes of operation, the bayonet-style ENTceps employs only direct heat and pressure to quickly and delicately fuse and divide soft tissue, minimizing collateral tissue damage.

"One of the greatest features offered by ENTceps is the exactness of the heat application," said Dr. Stierman. "The reduction in collateral tissue damage may play into less pain for the patient, less scabs to fall off and less post-operative bleeding."

Dr. Stierman also states that ENTceps' simple yet effective design makes it easy to use, which ultimately improves procedure efficiency.

"The first time that I used ENTceps, it went very smoothly," said Dr. Stierman. "It is not a difficult piece of equipment to use and it is very easy to set up - just plug it in and go. During those initial procedures with ENTceps, I really had my guard up for bleeding. But once I got past that, I was able to go faster with it."

A Meticulous Approach Yields Optimal Results
To date (April 2012), Dr. Stierman has used ENTceps in the operating room for adult and pediatric tonsillectomies (approximately 60 percent adults and 40 percent pediatric). She has also used the device to perform in-office uvalectomies. She notes how ENTceps has contributed to enhanced outcomes for her patients.

"In tonsillectomy patients, I have enjoyed working with ENTceps, and it allows me to perform in-office uvalectomies without concern for major bleeding," said Dr. Stierman. "The technology has really impressed me - it is a great tool."