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January 1991

Advantages of Electrocautery

Author Affiliations

1495 Morse Rd Suite 312 Columbus, OH 43229

Arch Dermatol. 1991;127(1):123. doi:10.1001/archderm.1991.01680010135025

To the Editor.—  Bennett and Kraffert,1 in their article, and Sebben,2 in his editorial, are to be congratulated for addressing a topic that affects any surgeon who uses electrosurgery in the practice of dermatology. Both bacterial and viral contamination have been shown to occur with use of high-frequency electrosurgical electrode tips.1-4 The dermatologic surgeon needs to consider utilization of the less frequently used modality of electrocautery. While most training programs provide instruction in the use of highfrequency electrosurgical currents and the effects of electrofulguration, electrodesiccation, and electrocoagulation caused by their heating properties, little attention is directed to that of electrocautery.Because the electrocautery tip is regulated by a rheostat to produce a glowing red- to white-hot tip, the electrode is sterile due to the high temperature.2 With electrocautery, the contamination risks associated with most forms of electrosurgery electrode tips would not be a consideration if the

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