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A Comparison of Thermal Plasma Energy Versus Argon Beam Coagulator-Induced Intestinal Injury After Vaporization in a Porcine Model
  1. Edward J. Tanner, MD,
  2. Erica Dun, MD,
  3. Yukio Sonoda, MD,
  4. Alexander B. Olawaiye, MD and
  5. Dennis S. Chi, MD
  1. * The Kelly Gynecologic Oncology Service, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD;
  2. Division of Gynecologic Specialties, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT;
  3. Gynecology Service, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; and
  4. § Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Edward J. Tanner, MD, 600 N Wolfe St, Phipps 285, Baltimore, MD 21287. E-mail: etanner4{at}


Objectives Complete cytoreduction of ovarian cancer often requires excision or ablation of bowel serosa implants. Both argon beam coagulator (ABC) and thermal plasma energy (TPE) (PlasmaJet; PlasmaSurgical, Roswell, Ga) have been used to ablate bowel serosa implants. Our objective was to identify comparable power settings as well as determine the rate of bowel perforation, depth of thermal injury, and extent of inflammatory response with ABC versus TPE in a porcine model.

Materials and Methods Nine pigs underwent vaporization of small bowel and colon serosa according to assigned treatment group (TPE vs ABC) and settings (ABC: 30, 50, and 70 W; TPE: Cut 10U, 20U, and 30U and Coagulation 10U, 20U, and 30U). Animals underwent necropsy with blinded histomorphologic evaluation on days 0, 3, and 10 postprocedure to assess for presence of bowel perforation, depth of thermal injury, and extent of inflammatory response.

Results At necropsy, bowel perforation was not identified in any animals. Depth of treatment with ABC in the porcine colon was variable and unrelated to power settings whereas TPE was associated with a consistent treatment depth of 1.0 mm regardless of location or power. Treatment with ABC resulted in greater tissue coagulation and desiccation as well as increased rates of mucosal necrosis, especially at higher settings (>50 W). Treatment with TPE primarily resulted in tissue ablation and minimal mucosal necrosis at low settings (Coag 10U–20U). The inflammatory response associated with TPE treatments was interpreted as biologically benign, and less than that observed with the ABC regardless of treatment settings.

Conclusions Both ABC and TPE effectively ablate bowel serosa in a porcine model. The TPE seems to result in a more predictable tissue effect with less inflammatory response, especially when used at low power settings such as Coag 10U or 20U. These characteristics are appealing for ablation of bowel serosa implants during ovarian cancer surgery and warrant further investigation.

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Tumor ablation
  • Cytoreductive surgery

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