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Electrothermal Cautery Units, High-Resistance

Definition : Electrothermal cautery units designed to coagulate and/or destroy tissue by applying an electrical current to a high-resistance element to control bleeding (i.e., hemostatis) and for therapeutic procedures. Electrothermal cautery units do not deliver electric current to the tissue; the high-resistance tip becomes heated when electric current is passed through it. These devices typically include a power source (either line or battery) that delivers the electric current, appropriate controls, a pencil- or pistol-like handle (handpiece) with a probe that includes a high-resistance wire attached at the tip, and an electric cord to connect the probe to the power source. Most units are available with a set of probes for different applications; the most common are (1) probes in which the high-resistance wire is uncovered or attached to a scalpel blade (for cutting and/or coagulation) and (2) probes in which the heating wire has a nonstick coating (for coagulation and/or to control bleeding). Some probes include an internal irrigation system. Electrocautery units using high-resistance elements intended for one or more clinical procedures (e.g., dermatologic, gynecologic) are available; dedicated units for endoscopic or transcatheter use are also available. The units are frequently controlled by a computer that facilitates the selection of the appropriate temperature and/or energy level.

Entry Terms : "High-Resistance Cautery Units, Electrothermal"

UMDC code : 24018


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