Electrocauterization is the process of heating tissue with electricity.
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.
Tuggy M, Garcia J. Curettage and cautery. In: Tuggy M, Garcia J, eds. Atlas of Essential Procedures. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 4.
Review Date 10/8/2017
Updated 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.