Diathermy In Surgery is usually better known as “electrosurgery“. (It is also referred to occasionally as “electrosurgical diathermy“). Electrosurgical diathermy involve the use of high frequency A.C. electrical current in surgery.

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Uses of Diathermy

Diathermy can be used for 3 purposes: Coagulation – Sealing of blood vessels.
Fulguration – the destructive coagulation of tissues with charring.
Cutting – used to divide tissues during bloodless surgery.

Types of Diathermy in Surgery
They are typically of two types.

Monopolar is where electrical current passes from one electrode near the tissue to be treated to other fixed electrode (indifferent electrode) elsewhere in the body. Usually this type of electrode is placed in contact with buttocks or around the leg.

Bipolar is where both electrodes are mounted on same pen-like device and electrical current passes only through the tissue being treated. Advantage of bipolar electrosurgery is that it prevents the flow of current through other tissues of the body and focuses only on the tissue in contact. This is useful in microsurgery and in patients with cardiac pacemaker.

How Diathermy work
Diathermy uses high-frequency electric current to produce heat deep inside a targeted tissue. It can reach areas as deep as two inches beneath the skin’s surface.

The diathermy machine does not apply heat directly to the body. Instead, the waves generated by the machine allow the body to generate heat from within the targeted tissue.

Diathermy is usually part of a complete physical therapy or rehabilitative regimen. Frequency and length of
treatments varies.

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