What is electrocauterization?
Electrocauterization is a routine surgical procedure. A surgeon or doctor uses electricity to heat tissue in order to:
- prevent or stop bleeding after an injury or during surgery
- remove abnormal tissue growth
- prevent infection
Why is electrocauterization used?
The treatment has a number of uses.
A surgeon may use this technique to cut through soft tissue during surgery so they can gain access to a particular site. Electrocauterization allows your surgeon to seal off blood vessels that areÃ‚Â bleedingÃ‚Â during surgery. Sealing off blood vessels helps prevent blood loss and keeps the site clean.
This method is sometimes used to remove abnormal tissue growth, such as aÃ‚Â tumor. This approach is common for growths located in sensitive areas that are difficult to reach, such as yourÃ‚Â brain.
If you get frequentÃ‚Â nosebleeds, theyÃ¢Â€Â™re likely being caused by an exposed blood vessel in yourÃ‚Â nose. Your doctor may recommend this type of treatment even if your nose isnÃ¢Â€Â™t bleeding at the time you seek medical advice.
This technique is frequently used to treatÃ‚Â genital wartsÃ‚Â orÃ‚Â wartsÃ‚Â onÃ‚Â other areasÃ‚Â of the body. Wart removal usually only requires one treatment.
How do you prepare for electrocauterization?
No special preparation is needed for this procedure. In the case of excessive bleeding, your doctor may take a blood sample to test forÃ‚Â anemiaÃ‚Â or aÃ‚Â clotting disorder. Frequent nosebleeds are one example of excessive bleeding.
Several days before your surgery, your doctor may tell you to stop takingÃ‚Â blood-thinning medicationsÃ‚Â such as:
- ibuprofenÃ‚Â (Advil, Motrin)
- warfarinÃ‚Â (Coumadin)
Your doctor will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure. You should also try to avoid smoking on the days leading up to your surgery.
Where and how is electrocauterization administered?
Although electrocauterization is often used during minor surgeries, itÃ¢Â€Â™s a specialized form of treatment.
Before the surgery, your doctor will place a grounding pad on your body, usually on your thigh. This will protect you from harmful effects of the electric current. TheyÃ¢Â€Â™ll clean your skin at the site of the surgery and coat it with gel to preventÃ‚Â burns.
YouÃ¢Â€Â™ll be given a local or general anesthetic, depending on the type and extent of the surgery. Your surgeon will use a small probe with a mild electric current running through it to seal or destroy tissue.
The electric current doesnÃ¢Â€Â™t enter your body during surgery. Only the heated tip of the probe comes into contact with tissue. The heat seals or removes the tissue it touches.
What are the risks of electrocauterization?
The treatment itself has minimal risks. Risks of electrocauterization may include:
- slight bleeding
- infection; your doctor may give you antibiotics to reduce this risk
- pain or mild discomfort; your doctor may prescribe youÃ‚Â pain medicationÃ‚Â for after the procedure
Tell your doctor if you have a pacemaker or prosthetic joint before undergoing this treatment.
Risks of anesthetics
Most healthy people donÃ¢Â€Â™t have any problems with generalÃ‚Â anesthesia. However, thereÃ¢Â€Â™s a small risk of long-term complications. These risks largely depend on your general health and the type of procedure youÃ¢Â€Â™re undergoing.
Some factors that may increase your risk of complications include:
- medical conditions involving yourÃ‚Â lungs,Ã‚Â kidneys, orÃ‚Â heart
- family historyÃ‚Â of adverse reactions to anesthesia
- sleep apnea
- allergies toÃ‚Â foodÃ‚Â orÃ‚Â medications
- alcohol use
If you have these factors or are older, you may be more at risk for rare complications:
- heart attack
- a lung infection, such asÃ‚Â bronchitisÃ‚Â orÃ‚Â pneumonia
- temporary mentalÃ‚Â confusion
WhatÃ¢Â€Â™s the long-term outlook for people who receive electrocauterization?
Electrocauterization should effectively stop bleeding if itÃ¢Â€Â™s used during surgery or after an injury. After surgery, you may noticeÃ‚Â swelling,Ã‚Â redness, and mild pain. Depending on the surgery performed, you may develop scar tissue afterward.
In treatment of a tumor or wart, all abnormal tissue growth will be removed. The heat from the probe should sterilize the site. Typically, thereÃ¢Â€Â™s no need for stitches.
Your recovery time after treatment will depend on the size of the treated area and the amount of tissue removed. Healing usually takes place within two to four weeks. It may take longer if a large area of tissue has been treated.
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