Effect of electrocautery vs. scalpel on fascial mechanical properties after midline laparotomy incision in rats

Y. Ziv*, T. Brosh, G. Lushkov, A. Halevy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The method of midline laparotomy incision and closure remains a complex surgical problem. Objective: To compare the mechanical properties at the interface of midline laparotomy incision made by scalpel versus electrocutting current in rats. Methods: A sharp midline laparotomy incision was made in 60 Wistar female rats using a scalpel or electrocautery to open the fascia. The fascial and skin wounds were closed separately with a continuous nylon. Fascial specimens were analyzed for mechanical properties at the midline incision using a loading machine. The load-extension curve was recorded during tensile loading at a steady extension rate of 15 mm/min. Results: There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in either wound-bursting force (PPEAK) or the strain energy spent until the point of measured PPEAK. Each load-extension curve showed a characteristic pattern in all rats. Tissue stiffness was greater in the scalpel group than in the electrocautery group (P=0.02). Correlations were found between tissue stiffness and strain energy, between tissue stiffness and bursting force, and between bursting force and strain energy. Conclusions: While tissue stiffness was greater when a scalpel was used compared to electrocutting to incise the midline abdominal fascia in rats, there was no difference in the bursting force required to disrupt the wound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-568
Number of pages3
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrocautery
  • Fascia
  • Incision
  • Laparotomy
  • Mechanical properties
  • Scalpel


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