Bipolar electrosurgical vessel sealing is commonly used in surgery to perform hemostasis. The electrode compressive force is demonstrably an important factor affecting the vessel seal burst pressure, an index of the seal quality. Using a piezoresistive force sensor attached to the handle of a laparoscopic surgical device, applied handle force was measured and used to predict the electrosurgical vessel compressive force and the pressure at the electrode. The sensor enables the monitoring of vessel compressive force during surgery. Four levels of compressive force were applied to seal three types of porcine vessels (carotid artery, femoral artery, and jugular vein). The burst pressure of the vessel seal was tested to evaluate the seal quality. Compressive pressure was found to be a statistically significant factor affecting burst pressure for femoral arteries and jugular veins. Vessels sealed with low compressive pressure (<300 kPa) have a higher failure rate (burst pressure < 100 mm Hg) than vessels sealed with high compressive pressure. An adequate compressive force is required to generate the compressive pressure needed to form a seal with high burst pressure. A laparoscopic surgical device with compressive force monitoring capability can help ensure adequate compressive pressure, vessel burst pressure, and quality of seal.

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