Ultrasonic energy was first used in the medical field for the treatment of Meniere’s disease in 1960. Use of ultrasonic energy for simultaneous cutting and cauterizing (sealing) of tissues was reported in 1980, wherein the technique was employed for laparoscopic cholecystectomy in over 200 patients successfully. Harmonic scalpel is an ultrasonic surgical equipment used as an alternative for other surgical scalpels or electro-surgical diathermy to cut and cauterize tissues during surgeries. Harmonic ultrasound technology and its dissection capability was first demonstrated in 1998, when ‘harmonic scalpel shears’ were introduced by Ethicon (Johnson & Johnson). A harmonic scalpel typically consists of a hand-held transducer, hand switch, foot pedal, scalpel or blade (cutting instrument), and generator. The basic working principle of harmonic scalpel is conversion of ultrasonic energy into mechanical energy.  Energy conversion takes place at the active blade delivering high-grade frictional force, while the tissue is held in apposition by the inactive upper arm. The active scalpel cuts through the tissue using low-frequency ultrasonic vibrations in the range of 20–60 kHz. The vessel sealing is enabled by de-natured protein coagulum achieved due to tamponade and co-aptation

Introduction of technologically advanced harmonic scalpel equipment through research and development is expected to drive the harmonic scalpel market during the forecast period. For instance, ARMONIC ACE +7 Shears is the latest harmonic scalpel offered by Ethicon. It is the first ultrasonic energy device with an indication of 7 mm vessel sealing capacity. It is popular for its advanced hemostasis and adaptive tissue technology enabling high vessel sealing capacity and providing multfunctionality with fine precision, respectively. Increasing adoption of harmonic scalpels over conventional steel scalpels and electrosurgical devices is likely to boost the harmonic scalpel market during the forecast period. Harmonic scalpel is considered a better alternative to surgical diathermy, as it causes less thermal damage.

The harmonic scalpel market can be categorized on the basis of procedure, end-user, and geography. Based on procedure, the market has been categorized into gynecological procedure, thyroidectomy, lung biopsy, bowel resection, tonsillectomy, plastic surgery, and other procedures. Plastic surgeries include procedures such as breast augmentation, breast reduction, and tummy tuck; while other procedures include cholecystectomy and adhesiolysis. In terms of end-user, the harmonic scalpel market can be segmented into hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, academic & research institutes, and others. The increasing use of harmonic scalpels in medical procedures for ENT (ear, nose, and throat) and rising demand for these scalpels in medical aesthetics procedures are likely to propel the harmonic scalpel market during the forecast period. For instance, tonsillectomy cold surgical dissection was gold standard until the late 1960s, followed by introduction of hot electrocauter in the 1970s. Even though monopolar electrocautery dissection is still being carried out as a common procedure for tonsillectomy, harmonic scalpels introduced by Ethicon in 1993 are becoming increasingly popular as tonsillectomy devices. Increasing popularity of harmonic scalpels is attributable to their efficiency, safety, reduced post-operative pain, and earlier return of patients to regular activities such as oral intake.

Based on region, the global harmonic scalpel market has been classified into Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe, Middle East & Africa (MEA), North America (NA), and Latin America (LA). The increasing number of surgical procedures in the U.S is projected to boost the harmonic scalpel market in North America. In addition, high economic contribution of health care, well-established health care infrastructure, and patient compliance in North America have driven the demand for harmonic scalpel devices in the region. Growing opportunities for the harmonic scalpel market in developing economies such as India and China is anticipated to register higher growth rate compared to North America and Europe.

Key players partaking in the global harmonic scalpel market include Johnson & Johnson Services Inc., Olympus Medical Systems Corp., BOWA-electronic GmbH & Co. KG, and VDW GmbH.

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