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Learn about Bovie and Electrosurgery

Around 1910, William Clark advanced the understanding
of the electrical principles behind the electrosurgical
apparatus used byDoyen andNagelschmidt.He
altered their apparatus by increasing the amperage and
decreasing the voltage generated by the machine, producing
a hotter and shorter spark that was capable of
penetrating deeper into tissues. Additionally, he substituted
a multiple spark gap for the common single one,
producing a much smoother current. Under the microscope,
he observed that tissues subjected to this current
shrunk from dehydration. In 1914, he used the term
dessication to describe the effect when tissues were destroyed,
short of carbonization, by dehydration. He became
the first American to routinely use this process to
remove malignant growths of the skin, head, neck,
breast, and cervix. Clark’s alterations to the electrosurgical
apparatus of the time essentially set the stage for the
work of Bovie and Cushing, leading to development of
an early version of the modern instrument used today.
Bovie, basing his electrosurgical unit on the work and
discoveries of his predecessors, constructed a diathermy
unit that produced high-frequency current delivered by
a “cutting loop” to be used for cutting, coagulation, and
dessication. The first use of his apparatus in an operating
room was at the Peter Bent BrighamHospital in Boston,
onOctober 1, 1926, whenDrHarveyCushing used it to
remove an enlarging, vascular myeloma fromthe head of
a 64-year-old patient. Cushing had tried to remove the
mass by more traditional means several days earlier, but
failed because of the vascularity of the tumor.
Cushing, heartened by the success of this operation,
began to call on many of his patients previously considered
inoperable. Over the course of the next year, Cushing’s
operative mortality increased significantly, reflecting
the increased use of the Bovie apparatus to perform
more complex procedures he had not attempted without
electrosurgical technology.4 The Liebel-Flarsheim Co,
under the direction of George H Liebel, purchased the
patent for the Bovie unit from Bovie himself for $1, and
they began producing the unit for use in other operating

The Aaron Bovie or BoviedMed is the major manufacturer of Bovies in the U.S. The Bovie 1250 or Aaron Bovie A-1250 are the most common models.

Over eighty years later, we continue to improve the work of Dr. Bovie. This website represents our product line, including the Bovie® electrosurgical generators and their accessories. The work continues today, but our sincere thanks go out to
Dr. Cushing and William T. Bovie for their incredible invention

Bovie also makes the the Bovie 950 and 800. Buckeye Medical carries the complete line of Bovie products including the Bovie A-1250
We are still adding products to this site. If you are looking for something in particular, please call us at (951) 348-0323
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