Argon Plasma Technology

Argon plasma coagulation (APC) is a thermoablative technique increasingly being used in endoscopy1. Since its introduction, the flexible APC probe has been employed by endoscopists throughout the world1.   APC has helped change the endoscopic management of many gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, including hemorrhagic proctitis, watermelon stomach, bleeding peptic ulcer, and colonic varices. Endoscopists and surgeons are creatively combining standard and new electrosurgical techniques with APC. For instance, APC used in combination with piecemeal polypectomy, endoscopic mucosal resection, balloon dilatation for strictures, and plasma welding of bleeding vessels after sclerotherapy injection are among the recent innovative techniques reported1.
Other emerging innovations using APC that are being considered include endoscopic en bloc resection of mucosal and submucosal tumors of the GI tract, endoscopic mucosal resection supplemented with APC for high-grade dysplasia and early GI cancers, endoscopic repair of anastomotic strictures, and welding GI fistula tracts1. As such, endoscopists require more efficient and cost-effective multifunctional thermoablative probes1.

What is Plasma?
Plasma is not a human invention. It is the most common form of matter in the universe. Plasma is considered the fourth state of matter and consists of a collection of freely moving electrically charged particles of electrons and radicals. However, to appreciate the configuration of this fourth state, there must be a basic understanding of the other 3 states of matter: solid, liquid, and gaseous states.

The first state of matter is the solid state. It is configured in a chemical structure of strong, fixed bonds between hydrogen and oxygen molecules. By gradual increases in temperature, the structural bonds between these molecules begin to weaken, separate, and finally free hydrogen and oxygen molecules. These molecular changes cause the transformation of solids (ice) into the second state of matter, the liquid state (water); then the third state, the gaseous state (steam); and finally, the fourth state of matter, the plasma state.

Argon Plasma Coagulation and the Future Applications for Dual-Mode Endoscopic Probes
Jerome Canady, MD,* Kimberly Wiley, MD,* Biagio Ravo, MD†
*Jerome Canady Institute for Advanced Biological & Technical Sciences, Hampton, VA; †Rome American Hospital, Rome, Italy
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  1. Argon Plasma Coagulation and the Future Applications for Dual-Mode Endoscopic Probes
    Jerome Canady, M.D., Kimberly Wiley, M.D., Biagio Ravo, M.D.
    Rev Gastroenterol Disord. 2006 Winter;6(1):1-12.

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