In 1926, a physicist at Harvard named William T. Bovie created an instrument, which revolutionized the medical profession-the unipolar electrocautery device. This incredible device could make surgical incisions and provide hemostasis as well. It came with a price, however, as it also created new risks and dangers in the operating room, such as electrical burns and fires. To resolve some of these problems, a bipolar electrocautery device was developed. The historical development and principles of both unipolar and bipolar electrocautery will be discussed in this article.
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