Electrocauterization

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Definition

Electrocauterization is the process of heating tissue with electricity.

Alternative Names

Cauterization

Information

Electrocauterization (or electrocautery) is often used in surgery to remove unwanted or harmful tissue. It can also be used to burn and seal blood vessels. This helps reduce or stop bleeding during surgery or after an injury. It is a safe procedure.

A small probe with an electric current running through it is used to burn or destroy the tissue. A grounding pad is placed on the body (usually the thigh) before the surgery to protect the person from the harmful effects of the electricity.

References

Pfenninger JL. Radiofrequency surgery (modern electrosurgery). In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger & Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 25.

Review Date: 
9/16/2019
Reviewed By: 
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.