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Electrocauterization

Definition

Electrocauterization is the process of heating tissue with electricity. The procedure is frequently used to stop bleeding.

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 massive bleeding (hemorrhaging).

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.

References

Roberts JR, Hedges JR. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004;749-766.


Review Date: 8/11/2009
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc
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