Electrosurgery is a term used to describe multiple modalities that use electricity to cause thermal destruction of tissue through dehydration, coagulation, or vaporization.
Electrocautery is a form of direct transference of heat to tissue. Instead of passing electrical current through the tissue, the current is used to heat a handheld element, which is then applied to the tissue. This form of electrosurgery is most commonly used for hemostasis and tumor destruction when high-frequency electrosurgery is contraindicated.
Additional modalities of electrosurgery include electrolysis, which uses a chemical reaction created by direct current to damage tissue, and coblation, used for facial rejuvenation, which uses an electrical current to ionize a conduction medium such as isotonic saline. The ionized medium is then used to transmit heat to tissue.
There are so many dermatology procedures that respond well to electrosurgery that dermatologists generally use it every day. The benefits of the procedure are numerous. Procedures are performed under local anesthesia, often without the need of an assistant. The use of electrosurgery has been tied to less bleeding during the procedure which reduces complications, promotes rapid healing and minimal scarring.