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September 1966

Electrosurgery: Its Use in Dermatology, With a Review of Its Development and Technologic Aspects

Author Affiliations


Read before the 86th annual meeting of the American Dermatological Association, Hot Springs, Va, April 14-19, 1966.

Arch Dermatol. 1966;94(3):340-350. doi:10.1001/archderm.1966.01600270090020

There are 50 types of skin lesions which are sometimes amenable to various forms of electrosurgery. Development of expertise in this modality depends on experience based on a sound understanding of fundamentals. Any form of physical energy is capable of producing destructive effects when carried beyond the limits of physiologic tolerance. The use of such destructive effects of heat generated in body tissue through tissue resistance to high-frequency alternating current is the basis of electrosurgery. Unipolar current with relatively high voltage and low amperage produces desiccation: cells are shrunken and shriveled and their nuclei are condensed and elongated. Bipolar current with lower voltage and higher amperage produces coagulation: tissue elements are fused into a structureless homogeneous mass with hyalinized appearance.

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