How is electrodessication performed in the treatment of benign skin lesions?

Updated: Jan 30, 2020
  • Author: Ginard I Henry, MD; Chief Editor: Gregory Gary Caputy, MD, PhD, FICS  more...
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Electrodessication is when the electrode tip is applied directly in contact with the lesion through a monoterminal unit. When the electrode needle tip is held a short distance away from the lesion, a spark is emitted and the current that emanates causes tissues destruction; this monoterminal electrocautery modification is called electrofulguration. If the patient is grounded, the electrosurgical technique is now bi-terminal; a higher amperage used at the electrode tip conducts a high current in the tissue, and the resultant resistance causes heat that cauterizes the lesion. This modification is called electrocoagulation (or electrocautery).

Another electrosurgical tool is a completely handheld battery-operated device. This device uses battery current to pass through a high-resistance wire to produce a red-hot electrode tip, which cauterizes any tissue by the application of intense heat. This can be used for ablating small lesions in the clinic as well as assisting in hemostasis for office-based procedures.

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