cautery(redirected from potential cautery)
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cautery,searing or destruction of living animal tissue by use of heat or caustic chemicals. In the past, cauterization of open wounds, even those following amputation of a limb, was performed with hot irons; this served to close off the bleeding vessels as well as to discourage infection. In modern times cautery is used only on small lesions, e.g., to close off a bleeding point in the nasal mucous membrane or to eradicate a wart or other benign lesion. This is accomplished either by the application of a caustic substance such as nitric acid, or by the use of an electrically charged platinum wire (electrocautery).
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Any agent or device used to coagulate or destroy tissue by means of heat, cold, electric current, or caustic chemicals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.