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Electrocautery, also known as thermal cautery, refers to a process in which a direct or alternating current is passed through a resistant metal wire electrode, generating heat. The heated electrode is then applied to living tissue to achieve hemostasis or varying degrees of tissue destruction.

Electrocautery is typically used in a dermatology office to treat sebaceous hyperplasia (overactive oil glands), seborrheic keratosis (a noncancerous skin condition that appears as a waxy brown, black, or tan growth) and verruca vulgaris (warts).