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Piezosurgery® is a term used for a collection of ultrasonic technology devices that apply electric vibrations resulting from pressure to cut bone tissue during surgical procedures. The technique is named after piezoelectricity, which is the type of electricity these machines use. The concept of Piezosurgery® was founded by Italian physician Tomaso Vercellotti.
Toward the end of the 1990s, Vercellotti teamed up with Mectron Medical Technology, a company founded by Italian engineers Fernando Bianchetti and Domenico Vercellotti dedicated to producing medical devices. The collaboration has since produced more than 30 international patents under the Piezosurgery® umbrella. In the United States and Canada, Vercellotti's invention is sold as Piezosurgery® Devices, with its Piezosurgery Incorporated headquarters located in Columbus, Ohio.
Physicians use Piezosurgery® by modifying the level of the ultrasonic frequency that the electric vibrations produce to cut the hard or mineralized tissue of the bone. The power can be changed to accommodate the type of bone density involved. During this process, the softer areas are spared, made possible by the narrow vibration range of the machine's tip. This manner of operation is necessary for preventing the killing of the bone tissue, which is known as necrosis.
Piezosurgery® is divided into two categories, according to the branches of medicine involved. The medical devices are most commonly used for osteotomy and osteoplasty. The former term refers to a type of surgery in which bones are lengthened, shortened or have their alignment altered. The latter term specifically refers to plastic surgery performed on the bones. Surgeons also use Piezosurgery® for otolaryngology to treat throat or nose disorders; orthopedic surgery to repair parts of the musculoskeletal system such as the feet and hands; and neurosurgery, which concerns ailments that affect parts of the nervous system such as the brain and spine.
Dental surgeons also use Piezosurgery®. To this end, Mectron includes a variety of accompanying kits to perform procedures such as periodontal ostectomy, inflammatory tissue removal, crown lengthening, and root extraction, scaling and osteoplasty. The company also carries curing lights with light-emitting diode (LED) technology—accessories for targeting light to the intended location of operation.
As of February 2011, Piezosurgery® is in its third generation of production. Thus the machines from this period are labeled as Piezosurgery® 3. The third generation devices have an ultrasonic frequency range of 24,000 to 36,000 Hertz (Hz). This surpasses its predecessor, the Piezosurgery® II, which has a range of 24,000 to 29,500 Hz.