Canadian Patents Database / Patent 1064581 Summary

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(12) Patent: (11) CA 1064581
(21) Application Number: 249144
(52) Canadian Patent Classification (CPC):
  • 326/15
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • H03K 7/08 (2006.01)
  • A61B 18/12 (2006.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • ANDREWS, STEPHEN W. (Not Available)
  • WOLTOSZ, STANLEY (Not Available)
(73) Owners :
  • SYBRON CORPORATION (Not Available)
(71) Applicants :
(74) Agent: NA
(74) Associate agent: NA
(45) Issued: 1979-10-16
(22) Filed Date:
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

English Abstract

Pulse Control Circuit and Method for
Electrosurgical Units

A control circuit for electrosurgical units establishes
a particular output signal to patient electrodes in response to
condition of the patient electrodes. The duty cycle of the output
signal is reduced when the patient electrodes are not in contact
with the patient so as to prevent unwanted cutting and the duty
cycle is increased when both patient electrodes are in contact
with the patient so as to maximize the coagulation effect.
The invention includes method of adjusting coagulation power
by varying the duty cycle and not the amplitude of the output

Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.


1. In combination with an electrosurgical unit
having a plurality of patient electrodes and RF generating
means for providing an output voltage across said electrodes,
a pulse control circuit connected to said electrosurgical
unit for pulse modulating said output signal and controlling
the duty cycle of said pulse modulated output signal applied
to said plurality of patient electrodes, said pulse control
circuit comprising:
voltage circuit means for sampling the magnitude
voltage between said patient electrodes;
threshold circuit means for generating a threshold
signal when the magnitude of said voltage between said patient
electrodes exceeds a predetermined level, and
modulator circuit means for pulse modulating said
output signal at a first duty cycle in the absence of said
threshold signal and at a second duty cycle in response to
said threshold signal.
2. A pulse control circuit as defined with claim 1
which further includes:
control circuit means for producing a control signal;
enabling circuit means interposed between said
threshold circuit means and said modulating circuit means,
said enabling circuit means being in communication with said
control circuit means and responsive to said control signal
for connecting said threshold signal with said modulating
circuit means.
3. A pulse control circuit as defined in claim 1
said voltage circuit means includes two capacitors
connected in series between said patient electrodes.

4. A pulse control circuit as defined in claim 1
wherein said modulator circuit means includes:
a transistor, and
sawtooth generating means for supplying a periodic
sawtooth signal to said transistor, said transistor also
being coupled with said threshold circuit means whereby the
conductive state of said transistor is determined by said
sawtooth signal and said threshold signal;
wherein said electrosurgical unit includes RF signal
amplifier means connected to said transistor and controlled
as said transistor so that when said transistor is conductive
said RF signal amplifier means is operative.
5. A pulse control circuit as defined as claim 1
wherein said first duty cycle is higher than said second duty
6. The method of controlling, during operating
conditions, the average power of a pulse modulated output
signal on an electrosurgical unit which comprises the following
selecting the mode of operation;
providing a pulse modulated output signal having a
constant amplitude; and
varying the duty cycle of said output signal to
obtain the amount of power desired for the particular operating
conditions while allowing the amplitude to remain substantially


Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.


Th,is invention relate.s gerleral1.y to r~ no(l.u]cl'c:ion
circuits and more particularly concerns rf modu].a-tiorl circuit~
for use in electrosurc3ical units. Electroswra.ical units use
~ high frequency (:RF) power for cutt:ing and coayulation of tisslle
: under surgical conditions. The e].ectrosurgical units anply ,.
a high requency alternatinc.~ current at power l.evels up to several
hundred watts to electrodes usually consisting of an active pxohe
; and a dispersive plate yenerally known as a patient plate.
Two main types of current are providecl, one for cuttintJ
a.nd one for coayulation. The optimal cuttinq current is a :,
;' continuous wave output from the electrosurg.ical unit. For
~,., smooth cutting a continuous arc is requirecl bt-~tween the active
probe and the patient. Upon appli.cation of a high powex
continuous wave arc, the tissue cells volati~e resulting in a
`` smooth cuttinCJ action as the prohe is movec1 a,long the surface oE
. .
the tissue. To introcluce hemostasis, the cutti.n~ current ~,he

~ wave form is pulsed. The lower the duky cycle, the greater ~

-,;~i ~ be the amount of hemostasis ant~ -the less the cuttiny effect. Duty ;:

~ cycle is defined as the ratio o:E pulse on time to ct.llration of the :,.
~ total pulse times 100~. For effective coagulat.ion a current with .. ,
. ~ .
a duty cycle of approximate:ly 20~ to less than 5~., i9 required. Jj'
The longer o~f-time with a low cluty cycle allows the tissue
to cool o~f, 90 as to avoid volati~ation o:E cells, but enough
power must be applied t,o sear of~ exposed blood vessels.
Both electrodes art3 availahle .in various configurations to
be selected by the sur~eon according to -the intende~ 3e. The . ,' probe selectetq by the sur~eon can ran~e in si~e ~rom a
pair of ~orceps or a knife blade to a ine neet~lt-~. The contact ,,
are~ o the probe and the type of tissue encounterecl are factors
determinint3 the amount of power necessary to eEfectivel~ cut or ' .
. .,
~ coagulate the blood vessels contigous to the operatin~ situs.
~: .


ELectrosurgical units have previously used either
spaxk gap or vacuum tube methods to achieve radio freqllency
levels of several hundred watts. For many years the generator
used for producing a coagulation current was a spark gap t~pe
of generator. A spark gap oscillator can generate ]arge peak
powers at a low duty cycle while maintaining about 120 wat-ts
of average power. Spark gap methods, however, generate white
noise whereas spectrum purity is desirable with electrosu~gical
units, particularly since electronic equipment is becoming
more prevalent in hospitals. Vacuum tube units are capable of
generating a power output of several hundred watts in the
megahertz range, but, they generally also operate at low
efficiency and have low reliability compared to presently
available solid state circuitry. With the advent of solid
state units it has been found that presently available
transistors cannot generate the large amounts of peak power
required under some conditions. Hence, so the duty cycle had
to be increased to allow for adequate average power, but, the

. ,1 , .
- ~ larger duty cycle introduced a cutting effect in the coagulation
mode. To minimize the cutting effect in the coagulation mode, ~ ;
a low duty cycle is required.
, ' The amount of po~er required varies depending upon
whether the active probe is axcing or in physical contact with
the tissue and is also dependent upon the effective current
density at the operating site, as determined by -the contact
area of the probe. All electrosurgical units on the market
today employ amplitude control to vary the amount of coagulation
power sin~e a low duty cycle results in less cutting effect it
.,i . .
~! would~ therefore~ be desirable to vary the duty cycle of electro-

surgicaI units in response to load conditions as opposed to

varying the amplitude control.

, ~ 3

~ dg/ph~

The present invention is used in combination
with an electr~surgical unit having a plurali~y of patient
electrodes and RF generating means for providing an output
volta~e across the electrodes, and relates to a pulse
control circuit connected to the electrosurgical unit
for pulse modulating the output signal and controlling
the duty cycle of the pulse modulated output signal applied
to the plurality of patient electrodes. The pulse control
circuit comprises: voltage circuit means for sampling
the magnitude voltage between the patient electrodes;
threshold circuit means for generating a threshold signal
when the magnitude of the voltage between the patient
electrodes e~ceeds a predetermined level, and modulator
circuit means ~or pulse modulatlng the output signal at a
first duty cycle in the absence of the threshold signal
and at a seeond duty cycle in response to the threshold

. .. . .
In its method aspect, the lnvention relates to
a method of controlling, during operating conditions, the
~20 ~ average power of a pulse modulated output signal on an

.~ . ..
electrosurgical unlt which comprises the following steps:
selecting the mode of operation; providing a pulse modulated
output signal having a constant amplitude; and varylng

,.. . .. .
~ the duty cycle of thè output signal to obtain the amount
:~ of power desiretl for the particular opera~lng condltions
: while allowing the amplitude to remain substantlally constant.
The electrosurgical unit may alæo be manually

~ operated so as to control the average power by providing a
:~ pulse modulated oukput signal having a conætant amplitude
30 : ~ and varylng ~he duty cycle o~ the outpu~ signal~
Figure 1 is a block diagram of an electrosurgical
unit ~hich includes the pulse control circuit of ~he present

mb/~ 4 -

.. . .. . . . . . .

6~ 5~
Fig~lre 2 is a scllematic representation of the
pulse control circuit of Fig~re 1.
Figure 1 is a block diagram of an electrosurgical
unit which includes the pulse rontrol circuit of the present
invention. An oscillator 10 generates a continuous wave RF
signal. The RF signals are applied to the input of an
amplifier 12. A modulator circuit 14 which drives amplifier
12 on and off. The result is that the RF slgnal is pulse
modulated by the amplifier 12 as driven by the modulator
circuit 14. Control means 16 ls used by the operator to
select the desired modulation mode sultable for the surgical
functions of cutting, cutting with hemostasis 7 and coagulation
which are dependent upon the shape of output wave form and
the duty cycle~ A power ampl~fier 18 amplifies the modulated
signals from amplifier 12 to a power level of appro~imately

400 watt~. The amp].ifier signals are coupled from the

power amplifier 18 by a transformer 20 to a


~: :
. ~ ~
.,,~ .

., .

! ~

!!r~ mb/J~J - 4a

3?air Oe patient electrot.les whlch inc~urle an prnhe 22 an~-l
a patient plate 2~. The patien-t ~fj main-tairls continua]. contact
with the patient plate 2~ dur;.n~ til~ suryic~1 oper~tion. The
active probe 22 is use~ Eor sur~ical procedure~.
In accorclance with a :first feat~lre of the invention, two
capacitnrs 28 and 30 are connected in series hc~kween l-.he active
probe 22 and the patient p].ate 2aO rrhe purpose of the ca~acitors
28 and 30 is to act as a volta~ ~.i.vitler so as to sal~ple ~he
voltage potential between the prohe 22 and the pati.ent
plate ~. It should be notecl that other volta.cJe dividers
such as two resistors or othex elements could also he used in

this fash.ion insteacl of capacitors. The input terminals o~ a
threshold circuit 32 are connected across the capacitor 30.
~;, It i5 seen that the volta~e across the input of the threshold
circuit 3~ is the same voltage that appears across capacitor

'i 30.
i'i . .:
~ The property of the thxeshold ci.rcuit 32 is to ~enerate
~ an out~?ut signal when the input signal exceeds a preset ma~nitucle.
;:, . .
The input voltage will be of low ma~nit:iude or high ma~nitlldt-~
-; depending upon wheth~r the active prohe 22 is or i5 not in contact
with the patient 26. When the act.ive prohe 2~ is not in contac~
:: ~
with the patient 26 ~he voltage across capacitor 30 will he in
the high state and of sufficient magnitude to cause the thresholcl
3' circuit 3Z to therehy generate an output .signal. The output
I si~nal :Erom the k]~resholtl circuit 32 is connected to the moclulated
circuits 14 through an enablin~ circuit 34. The enahling circuit
3~ is enabled by the control circuit 160 When the control
circuit 16 is set by the operator so as to be in the~ coaglllatin~
mode the ena~le c:ircuit 34 will be turned on so as to allow t3,1e

ollt~ut ~rom tlle threshold circult to reach the modulator c.ircuit
14. In the coagu:Lation mode, modulator circuit l~ can he ad]usted
to~modulate the signal, for example, with 20~ du-ty cycle .in

. . . . .. . ..... .
.~ . ~ . ,~ . .. . .. ..

the ahsence of a threshol~1 OUtpllt signal. As ~i]l he descrih~d
in further de-tail in a la-ter portion o~ the ~pec;~ication tne
pxesence o~ a thresholcl signal has the affect of reducing the
cluty cyc7.e of -the RE' slgnal, for example, rom 20,~ to 5~. Thls
reduction in duty cycle re~ctins in effect until the acti~e ~robe
22 becomes in con-tact with the patient 26 at which time the
voltage across capacitor 30 and input si~nal to the threshold
circuit 32 drops preventiny the generation of t'he threshold ;'
output signal. The removal oE the threshold outpu-t signal allows
the modulated RF signal to return to the higher pret1eter~ined
duty c,vcle of 20.; in our example. The purpose of controlling o
the duty cycle is to avoid cutting of the patient tissue while
the electrosurgical unit is in the coagulation mode. It has been
found that substantial cutting will occur when the active prohe
is not in contact with the patient but when at such a distance as
to substain an arc between the active prohe 22 an~ the patient 26.
During coac,lulation it is desirable to reauce the dut~ cycle under
arcing condition by reducing the average power ~issipated at the
operating site thereby reducing the cutting efectO When the
.; . ,
active prvbe has made contact with the patient 26 a high power
level is permissible as there is no longer an arc substained so
that unwanted cutting is eliminatecl. The higher average power i5
desirable to obtain the desired coayulation. When the control
circuit 16 i.s switched to be in the cutting mo-le, the enable
circuit 34 is disctblec1 SO as to pxevent the threshol-l OUtptlt
signal from the t,hreshold circuit 32 from reaching the moclul~tion
cir~uit 14, thereby the duty cycle o~ the RF sic3nal remains
constant regaxdless o~ active probe 22 contact w:ith the pa~ient
26. The duty cycle of the moclulatox l~t ma~ he chan~ed hy khe
control circult 16 to 100~ durincJ cuttin~ mode to provide
maximum average power under all cutting cond;tions. ~ reduction

of this duty cycle while in the cutting mofle wi:Ll pxovicle ~`
hemosta~iis in the cutting mode. '~

,~ :

Figure ~ is a schemiltic rer3resentation o~ the threshold
circuit 32, the enak31e circuit 3~, -the modulation circ-1it 1~;,
the input ampli~ier circuit 12 and the control CirCIlit 16
of Fi~ure 1. The threshold circ~lit 32 includes a conventional
Schmidt trigger circuit, however it: is to be understood that
other well known threshold circuits means may he llsec1.
rectifier and filter circuit 32B converts the "F voltacJe f~om
capacitor 30 to a DC level applied to the Schmid-t circuit 32~.
Schmidt circuits provide a signa~ during the time khe inpu~ ;
voltage attains or exceeds a particular magnitude. Thus, when
the voltage across capacitor 30 o~ Figure 1. exceecls ~ particular
value an output signal will be genera-ted by the Schmidt trigger.
This output signal is connected through the enahle circuit 3~ to ..
the modulatox circuit 14. The enable circuit 3~ allows the
thresholcl .signal to reach the modulatox circuit 14 only when the
electrosurgical unit is set to be in the coa~ulation modeO The
, ,
enahle circuit includes an isolation amplifier 3~ o~ conventional

1~ design which is controlled by the coagulation switch 4~. An

.,; electromechanical relay or similar device may be used as an

enabling circuit means.

The modulating circuit 14 includes an unijunction transistor
.1 ,
36 connected in an oscillator circuit for gener~ting a sawtooth
voltbger the frequency o which is depenclent upr3n resistor ~8
and capacitor 40. The sawtooth voltage is to the base
of a high gain transistor 42. Transistor 4~ acts as a switch
and is turned on anfl of~ depending upon the base vc31tage.

Control ci.rcuit 16 applies selected bia.s vc31tc-tges to ~he
base of transistor ~ of~setting the sawtooth vo.l.tage thereb~
controllirL~ the ~nount of time transistor ~2 is on. The magnittlle
o~ bias voltage is selected by a palr of foot switches ~A arld ~6.
Swi~ch 4~ is closed for coagulatlon and switcll ~6 :Eor cutting.
When switch 46 is closed a hias voltage is appliefl to the hase o.f

, ` .. .. . . . . .
. . . .. . .. . .

trans.istor 42. The clos.infl c)f swi~ch ~4 sllpplies a blas volta~
to the base of transistor ~2 and 50~ The level of the hl.~s
voltage from sax 44 is determined by a potentioMeter ~. As a
safety measure, the clo~incJ of coagulation switch ~ turns on a
transistor 50 which short circuits the bias vol.tage from SWX A~.
Thus, the coagulation mode overides the cukting mode. Furthermore,
when the coagulation switch 44 .iS closed the enable circuit 3~ is
enabled allow.iny the output signal from the threshold clrcu;t 32
to be conducted through the ena~le circuit 34 tn the base of
transistor 42. The presence o~ the threshold signal voltac3e
decreases the on time of transistor 4~. In the absence of a
~ threshold signal the on time of transistor ~2 is determine-l hy
the adjustable second bias voltafJe as contxolled hy the
potenkiometer 48.
~ mplifier 12 o~ Figure l inclucles transistor 12A connected
to transistor 42. The amplifier 12 is enable~1 only ~1hen transistor

4~ is turnecl on. Therefore, it is seen that the P~ ~ignal from

'~, oscillator lO is modulated by transis or 4~ and has i~ pulse width

of substantially the same duration as the on time of transistor

42. The total pulse repetition time i5 ~etermined by resistor

',~ :: 3~ and capacitor 40 and remains constant. Therefore~ the duty
`tl cycle of the RP pulse is proportional to the pulse ~/ic1-th of

'~ the thre~holcl signal.
The pulse control circuit heretofore describe~l automatic~lly
l controls the duty cycle of the RF sic,.lnal .in to active
! ~ probe contact with t:he patient when the electrosurgical device in

.i coagulation mo~.e. The invention prevent.s unwante-1 cuttincJ durin~
coagulatic)n proceclures by reducinfJ the ~uty cycle ancl-~herehy
, reducing the averctfJe power when the electrosurc,Jical unit is .se~.
,.~ fo.r coagula~ion and when the active probe i3 not in contact with
the p~tient. When the active pro~e is .i.n contaclt with the
'~ patient the danger of cutt;ng i~ .ecluce~l an~.~ t.he ccntrol circuit


autc~ma-tically increa~ei~ the ~-!uty c~cle the~eb~ lnc~e.~sin~ the
average now~r to ~imize the co~crll].atlon effect. r)urirl-J cutkiny
. t.he ~ulse cont~ol circuit is dlsah~L.e~ settincr the Gontrol to cutting mode on]y so that a continuous tta~e .iS
suppliec~ to the prohesO
In further accordance wlth the invention, -the potentio~.eter
~8 may be used to manually control the cluty c~c].e ~.7ithOllt
- afEectincJ the amplitude o.~ the RF siynal. rrhii~ method enahleei the
operator to adJust the electrosurgical unit to provi-.~e the m.inimum
power necessary ~or coa~ulation u~cler the operatinCJ conditions
- by using the lo~Jei3t poss.ible ~uty cycle. It hae; been ~ound
.. that this procedure reduces unwanted cuttincJ when the
electrosurgical unit is in the coagulating moc~e~ This method may
be used independently or .in combination with the automatic pulse
~:~ control circuit heretofore described~

;~ :

.,.,,;~ ~.
11 ,

. . .. . . .. .

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Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date 1979-10-16
(45) Issued 1979-10-16
Expired 1996-10-16

Abandonment History

There is no abandonment history.

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