The field of electrosurgery is evolving, and the applications for this technique are rapidly expanding. Incisions done with this technology have less post treatment pain, even when it is used in deep tissue procedures. Reduced blood loss and faster incision times have contributed to a rapid rise in the popularity of this technology.
Dermatologists who stay at the forefront of technological advances have recognized the value of electrosurgery in the treatment of skin conditions. It can destroy skin growths or stop bleeding. It has replaced the use of a scalpel in many procedures including the removal of both malignant and benign skin lesions.
Electrosurgery is frequently used to treat a number of conditions including, but not limited to:
- Milia – small white bumps that develop when skin flakes collect in tiny pockets near the skin’s surface
- Seborrheic keratosis – common, small benign skin growths that resemble a wart
- Actinic keratosis – pre-malignant lesions
- Syringoma – firm, translucent or yellowish, papules typically found around the eyes
- Comedones – small dark, white, or flesh colored bumps caused by acne
- Angiomas – benign growths that consist of small blood vessels
- Xanthomas – a buildup of certain fats under the skin
- Warts – growths of the skin caused by infection with HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
- Skin tags – harmless soft lesions that hang off of the skin
- Dermatosis papulosa nigra – multiple small benign papular lesions usually presenting on dark skinned individuals
Electrosurgery is the application of high frequency alternating current to tissue to cut tissue, staunch bleeding, and remove lesions. It has the ability to:
- Cut – It allows the doctor to make smooth cuts with minimal pressure
- Coagulate – It can produce clotting in blood vessels two to three mm in diameter
- Desiccate – Electrodessication is used to destroy targeted tissues
- Fulgurate – This electrosurgical procedure targets and destroys superficial tissues
Electrosurgery is used in many medical fields including dermatology, orthopedics, cardiology, ophthalmology, and urology. Electrosurgery is not new, but with the advances made in this technology, it has become a crucial element in comprehensive dermatology services. Scientific studies have found that electrosurgery compares very favorably to other surgical skin procedures. Many doctors prefer electrosurgery to cryosurgery or laser surgery for a number of procedures.