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cautery

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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cauterize

cau·ter·ize / ˈkôtəˌrīz/ • v. [tr.] Med. burn the skin or flesh of (a wound) with a heated instrument or caustic substance, typically to stop bleeding or prevent the wound from becoming infected. DERIVATIVES: cau·ter·i·za·tion / ˌkôtərəˈzāshən/ n.

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cauterize

cauterize XIV. — (O)F. cautériser — late L. cautērizāre, alt. — Gr. kautēriázein, f. kautḗrion, whence (through L. cautērium) cautery XIV cauterizing instrument, drug, or operation; ult. f. Gr. kaíein; see CAUSTIC, -IZE.

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cauterize

cauterize (kaw-tĕ-ryz) vb. to destroy tissues by direct application of a heated instrument (known as a cautery): used for the removal of small warts or other growths and also to stop bleeding from small vessels.
cautery n.

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