Anda di halaman 1dari 14

CONTINUING

MEDICAL EDUCATION

Electrosurgery
Part I. Basics and principles
Arash Taheri, MD,a Parisa Mansoori, MD,b Laura F. Sandoval, DO,a Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD,a,b,c
Daniel Pearce, MD,a and Phillip M. Williford, MDa
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
CME INSTRUCTIONS
The following is a journal-based CME activity presented by the American Academy of
Dermatology and is made up of four phases:
1. Reading of the CME Information (delineated below)
2. Reading of the Source Article
3. Achievement of a 70% or higher on the online Case-based Post Test
4. Completion of the Journal CME Evaluation

Learning Objectives
After completing this learning activity, participants should be able to list the various
electrosurgical modalities and describe their indications and contraindications;
delineate the tissue effects of various electrical waveforms; recognize the factors
influencing depth of tissue injury; and identify the sources of possible complications
and describe strategies for the prevention of these complications.

CME INFORMATION AND DISCLOSURES


Statement of Need:
The American Academy of Dermatology bases its CME activities on the Academys core
curriculum, identified professional practice gaps, the educational needs which underlie
these gaps, and emerging clinical research findings. Learners should reflect upon clinical
and scientific information presented in the article and determine the need for further
study.

Date of release: April 2014


Expiration date: April 2017

Target Audience:
Dermatologists and others involved in the delivery of dermatologic care.
Accreditation
The American Academy of Dermatology is accredited by the Accreditation Council for
Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
AMA PRA Credit Designation
The American Academy of Dermatology designates this journal-based CME activity
for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should claim only the
credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
AAD Recognized Credit
This journal-based CME activity is recognized by the American Academy of
Dermatology for 1 AAD Credit and may be used toward the American Academy of
Dermatologys Continuing Medical Education Award.
Disclaimer:
The American Academy of Dermatology is not responsible for statements made by
the author(s). Statements or opinions expressed in this activity reflect the views of the
author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the American Academy of
Dermatology. The information provided in this CME activity is for continuing
education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical
judgment of a healthcare provider relative to the diagnostic, management and
treatment options of a specific patients medical condition.
Disclosures
Editors
The editors involved with this CME activity and all content validation/peer reviewers
of this journal-based CME activity have reported no relevant financial relationships
with commercial interest(s).
Authors
Dr Feldman is a consultant and speaker, has received grants, or has stock options in
Abbott Labs, Amgen, Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Astellas, Caremark, Causa
Research, Celgene, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc, Coria Laboratories, Dermatology
Foundation, Doak, Galderma, Gerson Lehrman Group, Hanall Pharmaceutical Co
Ltd, Informa Healthcare, Kikaku, Leo Pharma Inc, Medical Quality Enhancement
Corporation, Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation, Medscape, Merck & Co, Inc, Merz
Pharmaceuticals, Novan, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Peplin Inc, Pfizer
Inc, Pharmaderm, Photomedex, Readers Digest, Sanofi-Aventis, SkinMedica, Inc,
Stiefel/GSK, Suncare Research, Taro, US Department of Justice, and Xlibris. Drs
Taheri, Mansoori, Sandoval, Williford, and Pearce have no conflicts of interest to
declare.
Planners
The planners involved with this journal-based CME activity have reported no relevant
financial relationships with commercial interest(s). The editorial and education staff
involved with this journal-based CME activity have reported no relevant financial
relationships with commercial interest(s).
Resolution of Conflicts of Interest
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support of CME, the
American Academy of Dermatology has implemented mechanisms, prior to the
planning and implementation of this Journal-based CME activity, to identify and
mitigate conflicts of interest for all individuals in a position to control the content of
this Journal-based CME activity.

2013 by the American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.


http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2013.09.056
Technical requirements:
American Academy of Dermatology:
d
Supported browsers: FireFox (3 and higher), Google Chrome (5 and higher),
Internet Explorer (7 and higher), Safari (5 and higher), Opera (10 and higher).
d JavaScript needs to be enabled.
Elsevier:
Technical Requirements
This website can be viewed on a PC or Mac. We recommend a minimum of:
d PC: Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, or Windows XP
d Mac: OS X
d
128MB RAM
d Processor speed of 500MHz or higher
d
800x600 color monitor
d Video or graphics card
d Sound card and speakers
Provider Contact Information:
American Academy of Dermatology
Phone: Toll-free: (866) 503-SKIN (7546); International: (847) 240-1280
Fax: (847) 240-1859
Mail: P.O. Box 4014; Schaumburg, IL 60168
Confidentiality Statement:
American Academy of Dermatology: POLICY ON PRIVACY AND
CONFIDENTIALITY
Privacy Policy - The American Academy of Dermatology (the Academy) is
committed to maintaining the privacy of the personal information of visitors to its
sites. Our policies are designed to disclose the information collected and how it will
be used. This policy applies solely to the information provided while visiting this
website. The terms of the privacy policy do not govern personal information
furnished through any means other than this website (such as by telephone or mail).
E-mail Addresses and Other Personal Information - Personal information such
as postal and e-mail address may be used internally for maintaining member records,
marketing purposes, and alerting customers or members of additional services
available. Phone numbers may also be used by the Academy when questions about
products or services ordered arise. The Academy will not reveal any information
about an individual user to third parties except to comply with applicable laws or
valid legal processes.
Cookies - A cookie is a small file stored on the site users computer or Web server and
is used to aid Web navigation. Session cookies are temporary files created when a
user signs in on the website or uses the personalized features (such as keeping track
of items in the shopping cart). Session cookies are removed when a user logs off or
when the browser is closed. Persistent cookies are permanent files and must be
deleted manually. Tracking or other information collected from persistent cookies or
any session cookie is used strictly for the users efficient navigation of the site.
Links - This site may contain links to other sites. The Academy is not responsible for
the privacy practices or the content of such websites.
Children - This website is not designed or intended to attract children under the age
of 13. The Academy does not collect personal information from anyone it knows is
under the age of 13.
Elsevier: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/privacypolicy.cws_home/
privacypolicy

591.e1

591.e2 Taheri et al

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

APRIL 2014

The term electrosurgery (also called radiofrequency surgery) refers to the passage of high-frequency
alternating electrical current through the tissue in order to achieve a specific surgical effect. Although the
mechanism behind electrosurgery is not completely understood, heat production and thermal tissue damage
is responsible for at least the majorityif not allof the tissue effects in electrosurgery. Adjacent to the active
electrode, tissue resistance to the passage of current converts electrical energy to heat. The only variable that
determines the final tissue effects of a current is the depth and the rate at which heat is produced.
Electrocoagulation occurs when tissue is heated below the boiling point and undergoes thermal denaturation.
An additional slow increase in temperature leads to vaporization of the water content in the coagulated tissue
and tissue drying, a process called desiccation. A sudden increase in tissue temperature above the boiling
point causes rapid explosive vaporization of the water content in the tissue adjacent to the electrode, which
leads to tissue fragmentation and cutting. ( J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70:591.e1-14.)
Key words: coagulation; current; electricity; electrocoagulation; electrodesiccation; electrofulguration;
electrosurgery; high frequency; radiofrequency.

INTRODUCTION
Key points
d

In electrosurgery, an electric current flows


from the active electrode through the patients body to the return electrode
Electrocautery differs from electrosurgery in
that an electrical current heats a metallic
probe that is then applied to tissue (hot iron
cautery). Because no heat is generated
in deeper tissue, electrocautery is more
suitable for the destruction of superficial
tissue layers

The concept of using heat for hemostasis goes


back hundreds of years. As technology evolved,
devices were created that used electricity to
heat tissue and control bleeding. These advancements eventually developed into modern-day electrosurgery. The term electrosurgery (also called
radiofrequency surgery) refers to the passage of
high-frequency electrical current through the tissue
in order to achieve a specific surgical effect, such as
cutting or coagulation (Table I). Each electrosurgical
device consists of a high frequency electrical generator and 2 electrodes (Fig 1). The electric current
flows from the active electrode through the patients
body and then to the return (dispersive) electrode,

From the Center for Dermatology Research, Departments of


Dermatology,a Pathology,b and Public Health Sciences,c Wake
Forest School of Medicine.
The Center for Dermatology Research is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Galderma Laboratories, L.P.
Dr Feldman is a consultant and speaker, has received grants, or
has stock options in Abbott Labs, Amgen, Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Astellas, Caremark, Causa Research, Celgene, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc, Coria Laboratories, Dermatology
Foundation, Doak, Galderma, Gerson Lehrman Group, Hanall
Pharmaceutical Co Ltd, Informa Healthcare, Kikaku, Leo Pharma
Inc, Medical Quality Enhancement Corporation, Medicis

where current flows back to the electrosurgical


generator. Adjacent to the active electrode, tissue
resistance to the passage of alternating current converts electrical energy to heat, resulting in thermal
tissue damage. While heat generation occurs within
the tissue, the treatment electrode acts as a conductor
that only passes the current and may remain cooler
than the treated medium.1,2 Electrocautery differs
from electrosurgery in that an electrical current heats
a metallic probe that is then applied to tissue (hot iron
cautery). In electrocautery, no current flows through
the patients body (Fig 2).3 Because no heat is
generated in deeper tissue, electrocautery is more
suitable for the destruction of superficial tissue layers.
The term diathermy was originally applied to the
therapeutic (nonablative) heating effect of passing
high-frequency electrical current through deeper
parts of the body. This term was later used to
describe cutting tissue.4,5 While the term diathermy
is still used today, the term electrosurgery is
preferred when referring to cutting or coagulation.
Although electrosurgical instruments are used
routinely, familiarity with the principles behind
how these instruments produce their effect is
limited.6,7 An understanding of the basic principles
of electrosurgery can help increase efficiency of use
and reduce complications.

Pharmaceutical Corporation, Medscape, Merck & Co, Inc, Merz


Pharmaceuticals, Novan, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation,
Peplin Inc, Pfizer Inc, Pharmaderm, Photomedex, Readers
Digest, Sanofi-Aventis, SkinMedica, Inc, Stiefel/GSK, Suncare
Research, Taro, US Department of Justice, and Xlibris. Drs
Taheri, Mansoori, Sandoval, Williford, and Pearce have no
conflicts of interest to declare.
Reprint requests: Arash Taheri, MD, Department of Dermatology,
Wake Forest School of Medicine, 4618 Country Club Rd,
Winston-Salem, NC 27104. E-mail: arataheri@gmail.com.
0190-9622/$36.00

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

Taheri et al 591.e3

VOLUME 70, NUMBER 4

Table I. Electrosurgical modes and definition of common terms used in electrosurgery


Method

Electrical current or
mode of choice

Alternative currents

Electrocautery

Direct current

Electrosurgery

High-frequency alternating
current

Electrocoagulation (contact
coagulation)

Continuous current (cutting


mode)*

Interrupted currents (eg,


blend, coagulation, or
fulguration modes)

Electrodesiccation

Same as electrocoagulation

Same as electrocoagulation

Electrofulguration (spray or
noncontact coagulation)

Interrupted current
(fulguration mode)

Interrupted current
(coagulation mode)

Electrosection, pure cutting

Continuous current (cutting


mode)

Electrosection, blend cutting

Interrupted current (blend or


coagulation modes)

Bipolar electrosurgery
Monopolar electrosurgery

Bipolar mode
Monopolar modes (for
cutting, coagulation,
desiccation, and
fulguration)
Biterminal electrosurgery
All modes (for cutting,
coagulation, desiccation,
and fulguration)
Monoterminal electrosurgery All modes except for pure
cutting (monoterminal
mode is not suitable for
pure cutting)

Alternating current

Definition

An electrical current heats a


metallic probe that is then
applied to tissue
A high-frequency electrical
current is passed through
the tissue in order to
achieve a specific surgical
(thermal) effect, such as
cutting or coagulation
The tissue is heated below
the boiling point and
undergoes thermal
denaturation
Vaporization of the water
content and drying occurs
at superficial tissue layers
at the end of coagulation
The active electrode is held a
few millimeters above the
tissue. The electric current
bridges the air gap by
creating a spark
A sudden increase in tissue
temperature above the
boiling point leads to
tissue fragmentation and
cutting. In pure cutting,
there is little coagulation
on the incision walls and
little hemostasis
In blend cutting, there is
more coagulation on the
incision walls and more
hemostasis than pure
cutting
There are 2 active electrodes
There is 1 active and 1
dispersive (return)
electrode
Both active and return
electrodes are in contact
with the patients body
Return electrode is not
connected directly to the
patients body; instead, it is
connected to the Earth
and the Earth acts as an
indirect return electrode

*The cutting mode in some electrosurgical units cannot provide a very low power output that is necessary for a superficial coagulation using
a fine-tip electrode.

591.e4 Taheri et al

Fig 1. An electrosurgery circuit. Current flows through the


tissue, generating heat within the tissue. Heat generation is
practically limited to the area of high current density,
meaning adjacent to the active electrode. The characteristics of the current flow affect the depth, speed, and
degree of tissue heating and determine the tissue results.
The arrows indicate the direction of the electricity in 1
phase of current. In the next phase, the current will be in
the opposite direction.

Fig 2. An electrocautery circuit. No current flows through


the patients body. Current heats the tip of the probe,
which can then be used to heat superficial tissue layers.

FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRICITY
Key points
d

In a high-frequency alternate current circuit,


cables and pathways of electricity always
form capacitors with each other and with
nearby conductive environmental objects.
Therefore, all insulation on instruments
and cables is relative and some energy always leaks through it as a capacitive current
If the active electrode cable comes in close
proximity to the patients body, current
leakage may result in a burn
When a direct or low-frequency current
enters the body, a chemical reaction called
electrolysis occurs at the electrodeetissue
interface. The chemical effects of electrolysis
disappear at higher frequencies
A direct or low frequency current can depolarize cell membranes and cause neuromuscular excitation. Neuromuscular stimulation
becomes negligible at higher frequencies

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

APRIL 2014

Fig 3. The peak and average voltage of alternating


electrical currents. The left waveform has a higher ratio
of average to peak voltage than the right waveform.

Electricity and currents


There are 2 types of electrical current: direct and
alternating. Direct current uses a simple circuit and
flows only in 1 direction, whereas alternating current
switches, or alternates, the direction of the flow of
electricity back and forth. Household electrical wall
outlets, for example, have alternating currents.
During each phase of an alternating current, voltage
and current fluctuate between a maximum (peak)
and a minimum (0). The effective or average voltage
is lower than the peak voltage (Fig 3) and is usually
used to describe an alternate current source and to
calculate the power.
A continuous circuit must be present in order for
a direct current to flow. However, an alternating
current can pass through some breaks and insulations by several mechanisms, the most important of
which is capacitance. In its simplest form, a capacitor consists of 2 nearby conducting plates separated
by a nonconducting medium (Fig 4). Higher frequency alternating currents can pass a capacitor
more easily than lower frequency alternating currents. The flow of an alternating current through a
capacitor is known as a capacitive current. In an
alternate current circuit, cables and pathways of
electricity always form capacitors with each other
and with nearby conductive environmental objects.
Therefore, high-frequency alternating currents are
impossible to insulate completely. All insulation on
instruments and cables is relative, and some energy
always leaks through insulations as capacitive
current.8,9
In an electrosurgery circuit, the tissue adjacent to
the active electrode acts as a resistor that induces
heating (Fig 1). If the active electrode cable comes in
close proximity to the dispersive electrode cable or

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

Taheri et al 591.e5

VOLUME 70, NUMBER 4

Fig 4. An alternate current circuit with a generator, a


resistor (R), and a capacitor (C). A capacitor consists of 2
nearby conducting plates separated by a nonconducting
medium. When a direct current voltage source is applied
to a capacitor, there is an initial surge of current. Electrons
flow into 1 of the plates, giving it a negative charge, and
are taken off the other plate, causing that plate to become
positively charged. While the capacitor is charging, current
flows, usually for a fraction of a second. The current will
stop flowing when the capacitor has fully charged. However, if the current changes its direction, as in the case of an
alternating current, the current will flow and charge the
capacitor every time the electricity changes direction.
Therefore, some current will be allowed to pass in each
phase of the cycle. As the frequency of alternations
increases, more current passes the capacitor every second.
The result is that higher frequency alternating currents can
pass the capacitor more easily than lower frequency
alternating currents.

to the patients body, a capacitor is formed that


passes some of the current through an alternate path
(Fig 5). This is called current leakage.10 Current
leakage may result in a burn on the patient or anyone
that comes in contact with the cable (Fig 5).11
As detailed earlier, higher frequency alternating
currents can pass the capacitors more easily than
lower frequency currents. Ultra-high frequencies
([5 MHz) are not used in electrosurgery because
the leakage effect is too great to fall within the limits
set by safety standards.12,13
Electricity and biologic tissues
Electrical conduction differs depending on the
conductive material. In metals, the charge carriers
are primarily electrons, whereas in gases and liquids
the carriers are ions.14,15 Gases are nonconductive
materials. When a nonconductive gas is placed in a
sufficiently high voltage electric field (eg, between
the 2 poles of a high-voltage generator), the gas will
be ionized. This ionized gas is called plasma and
conducts the electrical current as a spark. Two
common examples of plasma are lightning in nature
and fulguration in electrosurgery.
Electrical conduction in biologic tissues is primarily caused by the conductivity of body fluids and is
therefore predominantly ionic.16,17

C
Fig 5. Current leakage in electrosurgery circuit. Current
leakage from active electrode cable to the patients body
may result in a burn. It can occur as a result of putting the
active cable near the patients body (A) or near any
conductive element that is in direct contact or close
contact to the patients body or surgical staff (B; object
F). Examples of object F can be a surgical table or a
metallic clamp that is used for securing the cable to the
surgical drapes over the patients body. On the other hand,
if the active and dispersive electrode cables are put near
each other, current will leak from the active to
dispersive electrode cable before reaching the active
electrode (C). As a result of this power loss, the power
dissipated in tissue will be less than the output power of
the generator.

Chemical effects of electrical currents on


tissues
When a direct current enters the body through a
metallic electrode, a chemical reaction called

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

591.e6 Taheri et al

APRIL 2014

Fig 6. Electromagnetic spectrum. Electrosurgical units use alternating currents with


frequencies which are part of the radio-wave frequency range.

electrolysis occurs at the electrodeetissue interface.


This chemical reaction may cause destruction of a
thin layer of tissue around the electrode very
slowly.18 Electrolysis has been used as a method of
hair removal (galvanic depilation) and for the
treatment of telangiectasia.19-21 A low-frequency
alternating current can cause similar chemical reactions. However, because the chemical reaction of
each phase can be neutralized by the opposite
phase, these chemical effects diminish as the frequency of alternations increase and almost disappear at high frequencies ([5 to 10 kHz).2,17,22-26

Effects of electrical currents on cell


membranes
A direct or low-frequency alternate current can
depolarize cell membranes and cause neuromuscular excitation. This stimulation may cause pain,
muscle contraction, and even cardiac arrhythmia.
Neuromuscular stimulation decreases as the frequency of current increases above 1 kHz, and
becomes negligible at frequencies of 100 to 300
kHz.22,23,26-28 At these high frequencies, current
reversal is so rapid that cellular ion position change
is essentially nil and depolarization fails to occur.
High-frequency alternating current therefore makes
it possible to exploit the heating effects of electricity
while avoiding the undesirable neuromuscular effects. Whereas physiologic reasons dictate the lower
limit of the frequency used, as detailed earlier,
practical and safety considerations place restrictions
on the upper limit of current frequency used by
electrosurgical units. Electrosurgical units typically
produce alternating currents in the frequency range
of 0.3 to 5 MHz. These frequencies are part of the
radiowave frequency range (Fig 6); this is why
electrosurgery is also called radiofrequency (RF)
surgery or high-frequency electrosurgery. Although
these terms are used synonymously, the term electrosurgery has a more specific meaning in applied
biomedical engineering and is the preferred
term.10,29,30

BASIC MECHANISM OF
ELECTROSURGERY
Key points
d

An active electrode can concentrate the current at a small area and provide a sufficiently

high current density to induce heating and


thermal tissue damage. The large return
electrode disperses the current, reducing
the current density to levels where tissue
heating is minimal
Electrocoagulation occurs when tissue is
heated below the boiling point and undergoes thermal denaturation
An additional slow increase in temperature
leads to vaporization of the water content
and tissue drying, a process called
desiccation
A sudden increase in tissue temperature
above the boiling point causes rapid explosive vaporization of the water content in the
tissue adjacent to the electrode, which then
leads to tissue fragmentation and cutting

Although precisely how electrosurgery works is


not completely understood, heat production and
thermal tissue damage caused by tissue resistance to
the passage of the alternating electrical current is
responsible for at least the majorityif not allof
the tissue effects in electrosurgery.16,29,31-34 The
electrical current is applied to the surgical site with
a small active electrode and is collected by a largesurface return electrode that is attached to the
patients body. An active electrode can concentrate
the current at a small area in its immediate vicinity
and provide a sufficiently high current density to
induce heating and thermal tissue damage.16,29 The
large return electrode disperses the current, reducing
the current density to levels where tissue heating is
minimal.
Electrocoagulation occurs when tissue is heated
below the boiling point and undergoes thermal
denaturation.29 An additional slow increase in temperature leads to vaporization of the water content in
the coagulated tissue and tissue drying, a process
called desiccation. As more superficial coagulated
tissues dry out, they become less electrically conductive, potentially preventing the current from
continuing to flow and heat the tissue, thereby
limiting the depth of coagulation.
A sudden increase in tissue temperature above the
boiling point results in rapid explosive vaporization
of the water content in the tissue adjacent to the
electrode. This leads to tissue fragmentation, which

J AM ACAD DERMATOL
VOLUME 70, NUMBER 4

Taheri et al 591.e7

Fig 7. Different alternating electrosurgical current waveforms at equivalent output power


settings. Cutting mode uses a continuous waveform that is able to provide the maximum output
power of the generator. Coagulation mode uses an intermittent waveform that pulses on and
off thousands of times per second. Coagulation waveform usually has a lower maximum power
than cutting waveform because the delivery of the current is off for some periods of time. A
coagulation waveform incorporates higher voltage than a cut waveform at the same power
setting. Fulguration mode has the highest peak voltage ($ 10,000 volts), which helps with large
spark formation. Interrupted modes have a higher ratio of peak to average voltage than
continuous mode. In previous generations of electrosurgical units, damped currents were
commonly used to provide currents with high ratio of peak to average voltage. Theoretically,
the surgical effects of damped currents are not different from interrupted undamped currents.

allows the electrode to pass through the tissue and is


the mechanism of tissue cutting in electrosurgery
(electrosection).35-37

CURRENT WAVEFORMS
Key points
d

Cutting mode uses a continuous waveform


that is able to provide the maximum output
power of the generator
Intermittent currents have a lower
maximum power and a higher ratio of
peak-to-average voltage than a continuous
current
Fulguration mode usually has the highest
peak voltage

Electrosurgical generators are able to produce a


variety of electric waveforms (Fig 7). The name of
each waveform or mode does not necessarily translate to the final effect the mode has on tissue
(Table I). The only variable that determines the final
tissue effects of a current is the depth and the rate at
which heat is produced. The waveform, voltage, and
power of electrosurgical current and the size of
electrode tip can affect the depth and the rate of
heat production and indirectly influence the final
effect of current on the tissue.29,38,39
In an intermittent waveform, the voltage,
amperage, and power fluctuate between 0 or

minimum in off phases and maximum in on phases.


In this article, we use the term peak voltage to refer to
maximum voltage of the current during on phases
and the terms amperage and power to refer to the
mean amperage and mean power of the current.

ELECTROSURGICAL MODALITIES
Electrocoagulation
Key points
d Coagulation can be performed in contact
mode or in spray (fulguration) mode. However, the term electrocoagulation is usually
used to refer to electrocoagulation in contact
mode
d At the end of contact electrocoagulation, the
more superficial coagulated tissues may dry
out (desiccation). The current may decrease
or stop flowing at this time, a popping sound
may be heard, and sparking may occur
through the dried, nonconductive layer,
leading to explosion and fragmentation of
the dried layer
d Practically, a fine-tip electrode can be best
used for superficial electrocoagulation and a
large-tip electrode with a large contact area
only for deep coagulation
d In contact mode, depth of coagulation is
proportional to the size of electrode tip,

Depth of tissue injury

Size of area

Superficial destruction Small


with low collateral
damage

Large

Medium depth
destruction with
some collateral
damage

Small to
large

Method of application
of current

Electrical current or
mode of choice

Alternative currents

Setting

Possible indications*

Continuous current
(cutting mode)

APRIL 2014

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

Small seborrheic keratosis,


Usually a very low power
Interrupted current
freckle, lentigo, plane
setting is used. The
(blend or coagulation
wart, common wart,
power is started very low
modes)
genital wart, molluscum
and is increased until a
contagiosum, dermatosis
reasonably fast
papulosis nigra, very
movement of the
small skin tag, syringoma,
electrode on the target
cherry angioma, spider
can be attained.
angioma and
Coagulated materials can
telangiectasia, and
be wiped off and a
sebaceous hyperplasia
second pass may be
performed if necessary
Fine- or large-tip
Interrupted current
Interrupted current
Depending on the speed of Seborrheic keratosis,
electrode and
verrucous epidermal
(fulguration mode)
(coagulation mode)
movement of electrode,
fulgurationy (spray)
nevus, and rhinophyma
a low to medium power
setting is used. The
method
power is started low and
is increased until a
reasonably fast
movement of the
electrode on the target
can be attained.
Coagulated materials can
be wiped off and a
second pass may be
performed if necessary
Medium-tip electrode
Genital wart,z rhinophyma,
Needs more power than
Depending on the
Interrupted currents
and contact method,
superficial destruction. If
method (see above)
(blend or coagulation
Bowen disease, actinic
or fine- or large-tip
curettage or shaving is
modes)
keratosis, mucous cysts,
electrode and
performed before
and pyogenic
fulgurationy (spray)
electrosurgery,
granulomax
achievement of
method
hemostasis using
electrosurgery can be
(but not necessarily) an
indicator of adequacy of
treatment
Fine-tip electrode and
contact method

591.e8 Taheri et al

Table II. Settings of electrosurgical units for destruction/coagulation based on the indication and type of procedure46-57

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

Taheri et al 591.e9

*Although electrosurgery can be used for the mentioned indications, it is not necessarily the treatment of choice.
y
Depending on the power and the speed of movement of the electrode on the target, electrofulguration potentially can induce either a very superficial or a relatively deep destruction.
z
Because of the risk of viral transmission through the smoke, electrofulguration is not a preferred method for the treatment of viral warts.
x
Fragile tumors can be treated using curettage and electrodesiccation as an alternative to excision. However, depending on variables, such as tumor type, location, and size, for many cases of basal
cell carcinoma and keratoacanthoma and most cases of squamous cell carcinoma excision rather than curettage and electrodesiccation is preferred.

Continuous current
(cutting mode)
Small to
large
Loop excision

A thin wire in
loop shape

Medium
Large-tip electrode
to large
and contact method
Deep destruction
(usually used as
an alternative to
excision)

Continuous current
(cutting mode)

Basal cell carcinoma,x


Medium to high power
Interrupted currents
setting. The power
(blend or coagulation
keratoacanthoma,x and
should be enough for a
modes)
squamous cell
slow desiccation (hearing
carcinomax
a popping sound after a
few second). The slower
desiccation process, the
deeper damage
Interrupted currents
The type of the current and An alternative to shave
excision and hemostasis;
(blend or coagulation
the power setting should
not suitable for biopsy
modes)
be selected depending
for histopathologic
on the amount of desired
evaluation; rhinophyma
hemostasis

VOLUME 70, NUMBER 4

power, and duration of activation time. However, a relatively low power may be able to
provide a deeper maximum coagulation
depth than a higher power because of delayed occurrence of desiccation with lower
power
Fulguration mode can provide a superficial
coagulation if a relatively low power is used.
It can cause deeper tissue damage if a relatively higher power is used or if the activated
electrode is kept over a confined area for a
longer period of time

The rate at which the tissue temperature rises is


proportional to the current density in tissue. For
coagulation, the current density is lower than that
used for cutting to prevent tissue explosion and
fragmentation. Electrocoagulation can be performed in contact mode or in spray (fulguration)
mode. However, the term electrocoagulation is
usually used to refer to electrocoagulation in contact
mode.
For superficial coagulation of small areas (eg, the
destruction of small seborrheic keratoses) a fine-tip
electrode should be used to concentrate the current
to a fine point (Table II). This allows the same
tissue effect to be achieved with a lower power
setting. When using a fine-tip electrode, the current
density in tissue rapidly decreases with distance
from the electrode (Fig 8); therefore, heat generation is practically confined to the vicinity of the
electrode tip, potentially decreasing the depth of
dermal damage and possibility of visible scar
formation.25
When using a large-tip electrode with a large
electrodeetissue contact surface, a higher power
output should be used to achieve the desired current
density and tissue effect (Fig 8).40 Current density
decreases with distance from the electrode surface
more slowly compared to a fine electrode. A higher
power output (higher amperage) and slower
decrease in current density leads to presence of a
higher current density in deeper layers, resulting in
deeper tissue injury. A large electrode tip (ie, ball- or
disc-shaped electrodes), therefore, should be used
only for deep coagulation (eg, the destruction of
reticular dermis after curettage of a malignant skin
tumor).41 Because superficial coagulation of large
areas (eg, the destruction of large, flat seborrheic
keratoses or hemostasis of oozing surfaces) using a
fine-tip electrode is a slow process and takes time,
spray mode coagulation or electrofulguration was
developed (Table II).
In electrofulguration, the active electrode is
held a few millimeters above the tissue. Using an

591.e10 Taheri et al

Fig 8. Electrocoagulation. A fine-tip electrode needs a low


power setting and is suitable for superficial coagulation. A
large-tip electrode is suitable for deep coagulation. A large
electrode cannot provide a superficial coagulation
because current density decreases with distance from the
electrode surface slowly.

interrupted high-peaked voltage output (fulguration


mode), the gap of air between the electrode and the
tissue will be bridged by an electric discharge arc
(spark). The arc rapidly jumps and moves from one
location to the other, reestablishing itself at different
locations. In this approach, the current is spread over
an area larger than that of just the tip of the
electrode.42 By moving the electrode and spraying
the current over tissue, coagulation can be achieved
on a large surface area faster than when operating in
contact with tissue. Spray coagulation can be
achieved with a fine- or large-tip electrode.
In electrofulguration, each spark carries the current to a very small point at a moment, acting as a
very fine electrode. Given a relatively low power, the
temperature is extremely high only at the end of each
spark, leading to tissue explosion and fragmentation
or charring. However, the temperature drops rapidly
with increased distance from the end of the spark,
and thermal damage is contained. Therefore, tissue
destruction and coagulation appears within a thin
superficial layer of tissue, and fulguration can be

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

APRIL 2014

suitable for superficial tissue destruction. However, if


a fulgurating electrode is kept over a confined area,
continuous heat production on the superficial layers
can cause heating of deeper layers, primarily via heat
conduction. In such cases, fulguration can potentially cause deep coagulation.
During electrocoagulation, the more superficial
tissues may dry out. This stage of coagulation, called
desiccation, is important because the current may
decrease or stop flowing at this time, limiting the
maximum depth of coagulation (Fig 9). When this
occurs, a popping sound may be heard and/or
sparking may occur through the dried nonconductive layer, leading to explosion and fragmentation of
the dried layer. Desiccation is not a method or a
distinctive final resultit is only a stage that may or
may not happen, and it may happen at any time
during the course of coagulation, regardless of the
depth of the coagulated tissue. The timing of the
occurrence of desiccation during the course of
coagulation depends on the rate of increase in
temperature that is the result of current density.
With lower current density, there may be a
deep coagulation before desiccation happens.29
Therefore, for deep coagulation (eg, after curettage
of a malignant skin tumor), a relatively low power
should be chosen to provide a slow coagulation and
late occurrence of desiccation. However, a very low
power may not be able to provide the desired
coagulation. Although there are no published data,
it seems that choosing a power which can provide
desiccation (popping sound) after 4 to 7 seconds can
result in a relatively deep destruction. Achievement
of hemostasis is not necessarily an indicator of a
deep coagulation.
It seems that definitions have at times hindered a
higher level of understanding of electrosurgery. The
term electrodesiccation has been used in literature
as a distinctive method from coagulation. Some
authors use the term electrodesiccation to refer to
monoterminal electrocoagulation while reserving
the term electrocoagulation to refer to biterminal
electrocoagulation.18,43,44 Others use the term electrodesiccation to refer to contact electrocoagulation
as opposed to spray electrocoagulation (fulguration).13,45 A common and appropriate usage of the
term electrodesiccation is in reference to a deep
contact coagulation caused by a large electrode up to
the stage of tissue drying.29 This use of electrodesiccation is what is referred to in electrodesiccation
and curettage, a widely used surgical technique in
dermatologic surgery. Although tissue drying may
also occur during fulguration, the term electrodesiccation is mainly used to refer to the final stage of
contact mode coagulation.

J AM ACAD DERMATOL
VOLUME 70, NUMBER 4

Taheri et al 591.e11

during destruction of flat seborrheic keratoses), the


activation time should be short or divided into
multiple pulses separated by periods of time long
enough to allow the tissue to cool before the next
pulse.

C
Fig 9. Electrocoagulation and electrodesiccation. The
process starts with coagulation (A). At the end of coagulation, the more superficial coagulated tissue dries out
(desiccation) and become less electrically conductive,
potentially preventing the current from continuing to
flow (B). However, sparking may then occur through the
nonconductive desiccated layer, leading to disruption of
this layer, passage of more current, more heat production,
and deeper thermal damage (C).

Factors influencing the depth of coagulation


While the amount of heat generation and
resulting tissue damage is proportional to the electrodeetissue contact surface area (ie, the size of the
electrode tip) and the power setting (ie, waveform
and voltage) used, it also depends on the duration of
active contact between the active electrode and
tissue. A longer activation time results in more heat
generation and wider and deeper tissue damage.
One may propose that choosing a low power
setting and a longer activation time is safer and
produces the same result as choosing a higher
power and a shorter activation time. However, this
is not the case. Longer activation times result in more
heat conduction and collateral tissue damage before
the desired outcome is attained.11,40 This is similar to
choosing pulse duration of lasers. Therefore, in
order to minimize the collateral tissue damage (eg,

Electrosection
Key points
d For a pure cutting (relatively clean incision
with little hemostasis) a thin electrode and a
continuous cutting current (cut mode) is
used. The cutting of the tissue should be
brisk, using the lowest possible power
setting
d A thick electrode cannot provide a pure
clean cut
d Blend cutting can be performed using an
interrupted current (blend or coagulation
mode)
Electrosection provides a means of cutting tissue
in place of a scalpel. The major advantage of this
method of cutting is that hemostasis is achieved
immediately upon incision by coagulation on either
side of the incision wall. Larger blood vessels may
still require additional spot coagulation at the
completion of the cutting to achieve hemostasis.
A thin needle or wire can concentrate current on
a small area in the same way that a fine-tip
coagulation electrode does, and allows the same
cutting effect to be achieved with a lower power
setting. This leads to less heat production and less
collateral tissue coagulation compared with a
thicker electrode.37,58 Therefore, a thin needle or
wire is used to make a relatively clean incision with
minimal coagulation and hemostasis on either side
of the incision wall (Fig 10). A thick needle
electrode can cut through the tissue if a very high
power current is used. In this case, current density
and temperature decreases from electrode more
slowly compared with a thin electrode.25 The result
is a deeper coagulation margin during cutting that
leads to more effective hemostasis and also more
tissue damage. This mode is called blend cut,
meaning a blend of cutting and coagulation
(Fig 10).
When the cutting electrode comes in contact with
the tissue, an initial tissue heating and explosive
vaporization of the medium around the electrode
leads to isolation of the metallic electrode from the
tissue. Ionization of the vapor around the electrode
allows maintaining the current through the vapor
cavity by spark. Therefore, the cutting may continue
without a direct contact between the active electrode
and tissue.25,35 The higher the peak voltage of the

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

591.e12 Taheri et al

APRIL 2014

essentially sticking.34 If large arcing or sparking is


seen across the surface of the tissue, the voltage is too
high and should be appropriately reduced.
Practically, after determining the best power setting,
this setting can be used for each successive patient,
maybe with some fine tuning.

Fig 10. Cross section of tissue with 3 cutting electrodes.


Left, A thin needle is able to concentrate a lowepeaked
voltage, low-power current (cutting current with relatively
low power) on a small area and make a relatively clean
incision with very little coagulation on the incision walls.
Middle, A thick electrode can cut through the tissue if a
higher power current is used. The result is deeper
coagulation margins. Right, A highepeaked voltage current (blend or coagulation waveforms) produces large
sparks and acts as if a thicker electrode is being used that
cannot concentrate the current.

current, the larger the sparks. Larger sparks can


spread current to a wider area of tissue around the
electrode and act as if a thicker electrode is being
used that cannot concentrate the current in a small
area, resulting in a deeper coagulation (Figs 8 and
10).24 Therefore, an interrupted highepeak voltage
current provides deeper collateral tissue coagulation
on either side of the incision walls and better
hemostasis than a continuous lowepeak voltage
current (Figs 7 and 10).29,59 Blend mode or coagulation mode currents have a higher ratio of peak to
average voltage than pure cut currents and can be
used for making a blend cut. Depending on the
technique used, the depth of coagulation on either
side of an electrosurgical incision varies from 0.1 to 2
mm.60-62 Fulguration mode currents have a very high
ratio of peak to average voltage (Fig 7) and produce
very thick coagulation on the incision walls if used
for cutting. While there are conflicting reports of
postoperative results comparing pure electrosection
of the skin to scalpel surgery, electrosection, especially blend cut, is seldom used when a primary
closure is planned.63-66
In order to have less collateral tissue damage and
coagulation on the incision walls, contact time
should be reduced to minimize heat production
and conduction.11 Therefore, the cutting of the tissue
should be brisk with the lowest effective power
setting.36,37 When the power setting is too low, the
cutting process may be slow, resulting in wider
collateral coagulation.36 The correct output power
for a clean incision can be determined by starting low
and increasing the power until the maximum cutting
speed can be attained. If the power is insufficient, the
electrode does not glide through the tissue easily,

CONCLUSIONS
The superficial coagulation of small areas (eg,
small, flat, benign epidermal tumors) can be performed with a fine-tip electrode. Cutting, blend,
coagulation, or fulguration mode currents can be
used; however, fulguration or coagulation mode
currents are more likely to cause tissue fragmentation and deeper destruction by producing spark
through the desiccated tissues. Therefore, fulguration current should be avoided for a very superficial
coagulation in contact mode (contact coagulation).
On the other hand, the cutting mode in some
electrosurgical units cannot provide a very low
power output that is necessary for a superficial
coagulation using a fine-tip electrode. In this case,
coagulation mode, which may have a lower minimum output power, may be used. A large-tip
electrode is used for deep coagulation of a large
area. A high power is usually necessary; therefore,
the cutting mode may be needed. Making a relatively
clean incision with little hemostasis (pure cutting)
requires a thin electrode and a cutting current
(cut mode). Blend cutting can be performed using
an interrupted current (ie, blend or coagulation
mode).
Cutting mode current is suitable for all electrosurgical methods except for fulguration, which requires
a higher peak voltage. This is the reason some
electrosurgical units only provide cut and fulguration
modes.
A knowledgeable selection of the electrosurgical
circuit, electrode configuration, power, waveform,
voltage, and activation time is necessary for
achieving the best possible surgical results.
Surgeons should be familiar with the principles of
electrosurgery and its electrophysical properties.
REFERENCES
1. Rey JF, Beilenhoff U, Neumann CS, Dumonceau JM. European
Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE) guideline: the
use of electrosurgical units. Endoscopy 2010;42:764-72.
2. Huntoon RD. Tissue heating accompanying electrosurgery:
an experimental investigation. Ann Surg 1937;105:270-90.
3. Swerdlow DB, Salvati EP, Rubin RJ, Labow SB. Electrosurgery:
principles and use. Dis Colon Rectum 1974;17:482-6.
4. Turrell WJ. Treatment by diathermy. Br Med J 1923;1:143-5.
5. Wilson D. Discussion on the present position of short-wave
diathermy and ultrasonics. Proc R Soc Med 1953;46:331-8.
6. Feldman LS, Fuchshuber P, Jones DB, Mischna J, Schwaitzberg SD. Surgeons dont know what they dont know about

J AM ACAD DERMATOL
VOLUME 70, NUMBER 4

7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

12.

13.
14.

15.

16.

17.

18.
19.

20.
21.
22.

23.
24.

25.
26.

27.
28.
29.

30.

the safe use of energy in surgery. Surg Endosc 2012;26:


2735-9.
Zinder DJ. Common myths about electrosurgery. Otolaryngol
Head Neck Surg 2000;123:450-5.
Kuphaldt TR. Lessons in electric circuits. 6th ed. Bellingham
(WA): Michael Stutz; 2006.
Halliday D, Resnick R, Walker J. Fundamentals of physics. 8th
ed. Hoboken (NJ): John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2007.
Pollack SV. Electrosurgery of the skin. 1st ed. New York:
Churchill Livingstone; 1990.
Kalkwarf KL, Krejci RF, Edison AR. A method to measure
operating variables in electrosurgery. J Prosthet Dent 1979;
42:566-70.
Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation
web site. Medical electrical equipmentPart 2-2: particular
requirements for the basic safety and essential performance
of high frequency surgery equipment and high frequency
surgical accessories. Available from: http://marketplace.aami.
org/eseries/scriptcontent/docs/Preview%20Files%5C6012020
904_preview.pdf. Accessed February 2, 2013.
Duffy S, Cobb GV. Practical electrosurgery. 1st ed. London:
Chapman & Hall; 1995.
Gabriel C, Gabriel S, Corthout E. The dielectric properties of
biological tissues: I. Literature survey. Phys Med Biol 1996;41:
2231-49.
Miklavcic D, Pavcelj N, Hart F. Electric properties of tissues.
Wiley Encyclopedia of Biomedical Engineering. Hoboken (NJ):
John Wiley & Sons, Inc; 2006.
Christie RV, Binger CA. An experimental study of diathermy:
IV. Evidence for the penetration of high frequency currents
through the living body. J Exp Med 1927;46:715-34.
Christie RV. An experimental study of diathermy: VI. Conduction of high frequency currents through the living cell. J Exp
Med 1928;48:235-46.
Buzina DS, Lipozencic J. Electrosurgeryhave we forgotten
it? Acta Dermatovenerol Croat 2007;15:96-102.
Kligman AM, Peters L. Histologic changes of human hair
follicles after electrolysis: a comparison of two methods.
Cutis 1984;34:169-76.
Hobbs ER, Ratz JL, James B. Electrosurgical epilation.
Dermatol Clin 1987;5:437-44.
Kirsch N. Telangiectasia and electrolysis. J Dermatol Surg
Oncol 1984;10:9-10.
Christie RV, Loomis AL. The relation of frequency to the
physiological effects of ultra-high frequency currents. J Exp
Med 1929;49:303-21.
dArsonval A. Action physiologique des courants alternatifs a
grande frequence. Arch physiol Norm Path 1893;5:401-8.
Elliott JA. Electrosurgery. Its use in dermatology, with a
review of its development and technologic aspects. Arch
Dermatol 1966;94:340-50.
Palanker D, Vankov A, Jayaraman P. On mechanisms of
interaction in electrosurgery. New J Phys 2008;10:123022.
Turrell WJ. The physico-chemical action of interrupted
currents in relation to their therapeutic effects. Proc R Soc
Med 1926;20:103-16.
dArsonva1 A. Action physiologique des courants alternatifs.
Comp Rend Soc Biol 1891;43:283.
Nernst W, Barratt JOW. Elektrische nervenreizung durch
wechselstrome. Zeitschr Elektrochem 1904;10:664-8.
Brill AI. Electrosurgery: principles and practice to reduce risk
and maximize efficacy. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 2011;
38:687-702.
Bussiere RL. Principles of electrosurgery. Edmonds (WA):
Tektran Inc; 1997.

Taheri et al 591.e13

31. Advincula AP, Wang K. The evolutionary state of electrosurgery: where are we now? Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol 2008;20:
353-8.
32. Finelli A, Rewcastle JC, Jewett MA. Cryotherapy and radiofrequency ablation: pathophysiologic basis and laboratory
studies. Curr Opin Urol 2003;13:187-91.
33. Solbiati L, Ierace T, Goldberg SN, Sironi S, Livraghi T, Fiocca R,
et al. Percutaneous US-guided radio-frequency tissue ablation of liver metastases: treatment and follow-up in 16
patients. Radiology 1997;202:195-203.
34. Van Way CW, Hinrichs CS. Electrosurgery 201: basic electrical
principles. Curr Surg 2000;57:261-4.
35. Fante RG, Fante RL. Perspective: the physical basis of
surgical electrodissection. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg
2003;19:145-8.
36. Sebben JE. Electrosurgery principles: cutting current and
cutaneous surgerypart II. J Dermatol Surg Oncol 1988;14:
147-50.
37. Sebben JE. Electrosurgery principles: cutting current and
cutaneous surgerypart I. J Dermatol Surg Oncol 1988;14:
29-31.
38. The Association of Surgeons in Training web site. Principles of
electrosurgery. Available from: http://www.asit.org/assets/
documents/Prinicpals_in_electrosurgery.pdf. Accessed February
2, 2013.
39. Tokar JL, Barth BA, Banerjee S, Chauhan SS, Gottlieb KT,
Konda V, et al. Electrosurgical generators. Gastrointest
Endosc 2013;78:197-208.
40. Strock MS. The rationale for electrosurgery. Oral Surg Oral
Med Oral Pathol 1952;5:1166-72.
41. Noble WH, McClatchey KD, Douglass GD. A histologic comparison of effects of electrosurgical resection using different
electrodes. J Prosthet Dent 1976;35:575-9.
42. Eggleston JL, von Maltzahn WW. Electrosurgical devices. In:
Bronzino JD, editor. The biomedical engineering handbook.
2nd ed Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press; 2000.
43. Laughlin SA, Dudley DK. Electrosurgery. Clin Dermatol 1992;
10:285-90.
44. Boughton RS, Spencer SK. Electrosurgical fundamentals. J Am
Acad Dermatol 1987;16:862-7.
45. Van Way CW. Electrosurgery 101. Curr Surg 2000;57:172-7.
46. Spiller WF, Spiller RF. Cryoanesthesia and electrosurgical
treatment of benign skin tumors. Cutis 1985;35:551-2.
47. Tyring SK. Molluscum contagiosum: the importance of early
diagnosis and treatment. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2003;189(3
Suppl):S12-6.
48. Al Aradi IK. Periorbital syringoma: a pilot study of the efficacy
of low-voltage electrocoagulation. Dermatol Surg 2006;32:
1244-50.
49. Ferenczy A, Behelak Y, Haber G, Wright TC Jr, Richart RM.
Treating vaginal and external anogenital condylomas with
electrosurgery vs CO2 laser ablation. J Gynecol Surg 1995;11:
41-50.
50. Tosti A, Piraccini BM. Warts of the nail unit: surgical and
nonsurgical approaches. Dermatol Surg 2001;27:235-9.
51. Goldman MP, Weiss RA, Brody HJ, Coleman WP III, Fitzpatrick
RE. Treatment of facial telangiectasia with sclerotherapy,
laser surgery, and/or electrodesiccation: a review. J Dermatol
Surg Oncol 1993;19:899-906.
52. Toombs EL. Electroplaning of non-inflammatory linear
verrucous epidermal nevi (LVEN). J Drugs Dermatol 2012;
11:474-7.
53. Aferzon M, Millman B. Excision of rhinophyma with
high-frequency electrosurgery. Dermatol Surg 2002;28:
735-8.

591.e14 Taheri et al

54. Sheridan AT, Dawber RP. Curettage, electrosurgery and skin


cancer. Australas J Dermatol 2000;41:19-30.
55. Drake LA, Ceilley RI, Cornelison RL, Dobes WL, Dorner W,
Goltz RW, et al. Guidelines of care for actinic keratoses.
Committee on Guidelines of Care. J Am Acad Dermatol 1995;
32:95-8.
56. Ghodsi SZ, Raziei M, Taheri A, Karami M, Mansoori P, Farnaghi
F. Comparison of cryotherapy and curettage for the treatment of pyogenic granuloma: a randomized trial. Br J
Dermatol 2006;154:671-5.
57. Soon SL, Washington CV. Electrosurgery, electrocoagulation,
electrofulguration, electrodesiccation, electrosection, electrocautery. In: Robinson JK, Hanke CW, Siegel DM, Fratila A,
editors. Surgery of the skin: procedural dermatology. 2nd ed
New York: Elsevier; 2010. pp. 225-38.
58. Aronow S. The use of radio-frequency power in making
lesions in the brain. J Neurosurg 1960;17:431-8.
59. Chino A, Karasawa T, Uragami N, Endo Y, Takahashi H, Fujita
R. A comparison of depth of tissue injury caused by different
modes of electrosurgical current in a pig colon model.
Gastrointest Endosc 2004;59:374-9.
60. Ruidiaz ME, Cortes-Mateos MJ, Sandoval S, Martin DT,
Wang-Rodriguez J, Hasteh F, et al. Quantitative comparison
of surgical margin histology following excision with traditional electrosurgery and a low-thermal-injury dissection
device. J Surg Oncol 2011;104:746-54.

J AM ACAD DERMATOL

APRIL 2014

61. Schoinohoriti OK, Chrysomali E, Iatrou I, Perrea D. Evaluation


of lateral thermal damage and reepithelialization of incisional wounds created by CO(2)-laser, monopolar electrosurgery, and radiosurgery: a pilot study on porcine oral
mucosa. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod
2012;113:741-7.
62. Duffy S. The tissue and thermal effects of electrosurgery in
the uterine cavity. Baillieres Clin Obstet Gynaecol 1995;9:
261-77.
63. Kashkouli MB, Kaghazkanai R, Mirzaie AZ, Hashemi M,
Parvaresh MM, Sasanii L. Clinicopathologic comparison of
radiofrequency versus scalpel incision for upper blepharoplasty. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg 2008;24:450-3.
64. Loh SA, Carlson GA, Chang EI, Huang E, Palanker D, Gurtner
GC. Comparative healing of surgical incisions created by the
PEAK PlasmaBlade, conventional electrosurgery, and a
scalpel. Plast Reconstr Surg 2009;124:1849-59.
65. Silverman EB, Read RW, Boyle CR, Cooper R, Miller WW,
McLaughlin RM. Histologic comparison of canine skin biopsies collected using monopolar electrosurgery, CO2 laser,
radiowave radiosurgery, skin biopsy punch, and scalpel. Vet
Surg 2007;36:50-6.
66. Sinha UK, Gallagher LA. Effects of steel scalpel, ultrasonic
scalpel, CO2 laser, and monopolar and bipolar electrosurgery
on wound healing in guinea pig oral mucosa. Laryngoscope
2003;113:228-36.