Electrocautery, also known as thermal cautery, refers to a process in which a direct or alternating current is passed through a resistant metal wire electrode, generating heat. The heated electrode is then applied to living tissue to achieve hemostasis or varying degrees of tissue destruction. Electrocautery can be used in various minor surgical procedures in dermatology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, and urology.


Electrocautery is a safe and effective method of hemostasis during cutaneous surgery. It is also useful in the treatment of various small benign skin lesions, although only lesions that do not require histological review should be treated with electrocautery.

Electrocautery shares many indications with electrosurgery and is of particular importance in patients who have implanted electrical devices in whom external electromagnetic interference should be avoided. Furthermore, unlike electrosurgical instruments, electrocautery devices maintain function in a wet field.

Low temperatures can be used for superficial tissue destruction in the treatment of superficial and relatively avascular lesions, including the following:
  • Seborrheic keratoses
  • Acrochordons
  • Molluscum
  • Verrucae/ Warts
  • Syringomas
  • Small angiomas
  • Moles
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