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Electrocauterization

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

Neumayer L, Vargo D. Principles of preoperative and operative surgery. In: Townsend CM Jr., Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 11.


Review Date: 7/28/2015
Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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