Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to transcutaneous: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, Transcutaneous pacing
transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
1. use of a battery-powered device to relieve acute and chronic pain. Electrodes attached to the skin transmit electrical impulses, which produce a mild tingling, tapping, or massaging sensation. Reasons postulated for the effectiveness of this method include interruption of pain impulses from the periphery to the central nervous system, increased production of endorphins, and improved blood supply to the affected part. Increased circulation encourages healing and helps reduce muscle spasm. A second generation TENS unit called The Pain Suppressor is also available; it produces an electrical current but water is used as a conducting substance, it is not attached to the skin, and the patient does not perceive the electrode current. Treatments are administered several times per day. TENS is an alternative to drugs for the management of pain and can be used in a variety of conditions. A patient can use it with minimal instruction and may wear it at home as well as in the hospital.
2. in the nursing interventions classification, a nursing intervention defined as stimulation of skin and underlying tissues with controlled, low-voltage electrical vibration via electrodes.
transcutaneous neural stimulation (TNS) transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (def. 1).
Denoting the passage of substances through unbroken skin, as in absorption by inunction; also passage through the skin by needle puncture, including introduction of wires and catheters by Seldinger technique.
transcutaneous/trans·cu·ta·ne·ous/ (-ku-ta´ne-us) transdermal.
Etymology: L, trans + cutis, skin
pertaining to a procedure that is performed through the skin.