Electrocauterization

Definition

Electrocauterization is the process of heating tissue with electricity. The procedure is often used to stop bleeding during surgery or after an injury.

Alternative Names

Cauterization

Information

Electrocauterization (or electrocautery) is a safe procedure that is routinely used in surgery to remove unwanted or harmful tissue. It can also be used to burn and seal blood vessels, which helps reduce or stop bleeding.

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 patient from the harmful effects of the electricity.

Revision

Last reviewed 8/11/2013 by Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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