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January 1959

An Improvement in the Use of the Wadsworth-Todd Cautery

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1959;61(1):144-145. doi:10.1001/archopht.1959.00940090146022

The use of heat topically to stop surface bleeding, employing metal cauterizing points of sufficient temperature, goes back to the ancients. Heated in a flame or in a brazier, the cautery-iron of mediaeval ophthalmologists was also used in a variety of other conditions. One of its more modern forms was that of Wadsworth, later modified by Todd,1 often used to touch bleeding spots during surgical procedures. With scientific advancement, instruments activated by electrical methods have been introduced, but these generate heat too high for safety. The Hildreth Electric Coagulator2 represents an improvement over other preceding methods, but there are certain drawbacks which make its use difficult at times.

A practical appliance would have to incorporate modifications to meet the following criteria: 1. The contrivance must be uncomplicated, making it a reliable instrument. 2. The metal or alloy selected must retain heat for a long time. 3. The applicator must

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