Electric Cauterization

I have to see a dermatoligist soon to remove a basal cell issue. They wil be doing a ED&C procedure, which involves cauterizing the area with an electric probe. 

Has anyone with a pacemaker had this done? Any issues? 


With precautions should be ok

by crustyg - 2019-09-10 03:19:57

Depends on precisely which technology is being used for 'cautery' - this can be as primitve as a very hot wire loop (no risk at all), or it can be radio-frequency diathermy that surgeons use.  The latter has the advantage that it can cut or coagulate or both, but does pose a risk to your PM box.

Many/most PMs have a setting to deliver basic, single rate pacing for this, so it has to be enabled by a PM programmer and tech/nurse before the procedure and turned off afterwards.  They will also try to make sure that the return electrode (assuming diathermy) is well away from your PM box so that the diathermy current isn't travelling across your heart and your PM leads.

The diathermy voltages and energy have the ability to do serious damage to your PM if used unwisely, but this should all be standard stuff to an experienced skin specialist.

Hope all goes well - getting rid of a BCC is good!

Have you mentioned your PM to your skin doc? Had the conversation about how she/he will protect your PM?


by islandgirl - 2019-09-10 10:07:03

Mine usesd a battery-powered cautery device.

No worries....

Just let them know.


by donr - 2019-09-10 19:59:59

A complex issue.  1) Where is the BCC?  Ear?  Arm? leg?  Torso? head?

The further from the PM, the better.  I've had surgeries involving EC.  I talked it over very thoroughly w/ the surgeon.  If it is on  a limb. the Ground Plane - return electrical connection for the device - can be placed further out on the limb so the current flows away from the device.  Same for the torso.  I had belly surgery & the ground plane was placed on a thigh. 

2)  There are two modes for an EC device, just like for a PM Lead - bi-polar & mono-polar.  The bipolar has both electrodes in the EC device, so current flows only a fraction of a mm through the body.  In mono-polar, the  device has one electrode & the other is a ground plane.  There are many safe solutions for this if the surgeon is imaginative.  Talk to the surgeon about the situation.


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