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System and method for controlling electrode gap during tissue sealing

Image Number 11 for United States Patent #8128625.

An electrosurgical system for sealing tissue is disclosed that includes an electrosurgical forceps. The forceps includes a drive rod and an end effector assembly coupled to the drive rod at a distal end thereof. The end effector assembly includes jaw members wherein longitudinal reciprocation of the drive rod moves the jaw members from a first position in spaced relation relative to one another to a subsequent position wherein the jaw members cooperate to grasp tissue therebetween. Each of the jaw members includes a sealing plate that communicates electrosurgical energy through tissue held therebetween. The jaw members are adapted to connect to an electrosurgical generator. The system also includes one or more sensors that determine a gap distance between the sealing plates of the jaw members and a pressure applicator coupled to the drive rod. The pressure applicator is configured to move the drive rod in a longitudinal direction. The system further includes a controller adapted to communicate with the sensors and to control the pressure applicator in response to the determined gap distance during the sealing process.

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