Electrolysis is the process of decomposing a compound body by electricity. Applied in surgery this process has also the power of absorption.
Webster's definition of absorption is: "Absorption is the process, or act, of being made passively to disappear in some other substance, through molecular or other invisible means, as the absorption of light, heat, electricity, etc." Therefore, I have called this action "a galvanic chemical absorption." The body to be decomposed or absorbed must be a conductor, and must possess certain elements susceptible of decomposition by the current; it must also contain water and a salt. Blood and muscular tissues are good electrolytes, and fibrous tissues are more or less decomposed, according to the elements which enter into their composition. If the parts to be acted upon are devoid of water, the electrolytic action will be slow, because water or moisture is an essential factor, and forms one of
NEWMAN R. ELECTROLYSIS IN SURGERY; AND TABULAR STATISTICS OF ONE HUNDRED CASES OF URETHRAL STRICTURE. JAMA. 1885;IV(17):449–455. doi:10.1001/jama.1885.02390920001001
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