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[L. cauterium, fr Gr. kautērion, branding iron]

1. A device used to destroy tissue by electricity, freezing, heat, laser, ultrasound energy, or corrosive chemicals. It is used in potentially infected wounds and to destroy excess granulation tissue. Thermocautery consists of a red-hot or white-hot object, usually a piece of wire or pointed metallic instrument, heated in a flame or with electricity (electrocautery, galvanocautery).
2. The act or effect of cauterizing, e.g., to produce hemostasis during surgery.

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