Skin Treatments: Electrocautery

Electrocautery (e-lek-tro-kaw-ter-e) is a way to remove a wart using heat from electricity. The electricity is used to heat the needle which is put on the wart. The electricity is not sent into your body. Electrocautery can also be used to remove other growths on your skin.

Electrosurgery is used to destroy benign and malignant lesions, to control bleeding, and to cut or excise tissue.1–3 Electrosurgery is simple to perform and is useful for treating a variety of skin lesions, especially small superficial lesions (skin tags and small angiomas). The major modalities in electrosurgery are electrodesiccation, fulguration, electrocoagulation, and electrosection.

Modern, high-frequency electrosurgical devices transfer electrical energy to human tissue via a treatment electrode that remains cool. Most electrosurgical units work at frequencies just below the AM radio frequency band. The electrical resistance of human tissue helps convert this electrical energy into molecular energy, which causes denaturation of intracellular and extracellular proteins, resulting in coagulation or desiccation effects. Raising intracellular water above the boiling point causes cell membrane rupture to produce a cutting effect.