Electrosurgical Generators

An Operating Room Essential

electrosurgical generator



We never want to have to cancel a surgery due to a broken piece of equipment.

Since the government does not fund medical equipment purchases for Ontario hospitals, we work with donors who care about WDMH - people who care about their families, friends, neighbours and communities - to fund much-needed equipment.


What is the need?


One of the highest priority needs at WDMH right now is three new pieces of equipment for our Operating Room called Electrosurgical Generators. These are not the type of generator you might use when the power goes out – these are used during the majority of our OR surgeries.

What do Electrosurgical Generators do?

These machines allow surgeons to control bleeding. This is done by using heated surgical instruments that cauterize blood vessels. Cauterization is the process of using heat to seal off blood vessels. The machines that allow the instruments to be heated are called Electrosurgical Generators.


Because of our donors, we are very fortunate to have three of these machines in our OR. But, they are about 10 years old and are starting to age.


These machines are used five days a week. Last year, we performed 4,764 surgeries at WDMH.

What makes the new Electrosurgical Generators special?


  • The main concern with the Electrosurgical Generators is the ports that the surgical instruments are plugged into. Ten years of instruments being constantly plugged in and out can take its toll! As much as we take excellent care of our medical equipment, eventually things just wear out. Our Electrosurgical Generators need to be replaced before the ports simply give out. They are an absolute necessity at WDMH to provide surgical care services for our patients.
  • The new generators will each have an extra port. This is meaningful because right now, when a surgeon needs to switch instruments, one instrument needs to be unplugged and then the new one needs to be plugged in. Depending on the surgery, that can mean a lot of coordination and can also waste valuable time. The new machines will make the OR team more efficient.
  • Another excellent feature that one of the three new machines will have is the capability to offer Argon Plasma Coagulation. This is especially important for patients who have had radiation treatment in the past who often have a side effect called Radiation Proctitus. Radiation Proctitis is basically thinned skin and it is not easy to operate on because it is so fragile. This can occur after radiation treatment for cancers such as cervical cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Argon Plasma Coagulation is the process of spraying a gas over the delicate tissue that then allows the bleeding to be controlled.   
  • The new generators will come with special software specific for endoscopy procedures. Having this software is part of the Accreditation process. 


How much do the three new generators cost?

The cost of the three generators ten years ago was well over $200,000. The cost has come down a lot. Today, we can get three new ones for about $89,000!


What surgeries are performed at WDMH?

Here is a list of the main surgeries we perform:

o   Endoscopy

o   Colonoscopy

o   Gynecology

o   Obstetrical (C-sections)

o   Ear, Nose & Throat (such as tonsillectomy, thyroidectomy and sinus surgery)

o   Ophthalmology (eyes)

o   Plastic Surgery (e.g. breast reconstruction following mastectomy)

o   Urology

o   General Surgery


generator tool 


This is one of the instruments used for cauterization that gets plugged into the Electrosurgical Generator to be heated up.  


Imagine having your surgery cancelled at the last minute because one of the needed pieces of equipment suddenly breaks. You have been waiting for a month to have the surgery so you can get back to doing the things you love. How frustrating would that be? We never want that to happen.


To help us ensure that doesn’t happen, please make a gift to our General Equipment Fund today:



Thank you!