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1. an apparatus for surgical dissection and hemostasis, using heat generated by a high-voltage, high-frequency alternating current passed through an electrode.
2. the cauterization of tissue using such an instrument.
bipolar electrocautery an electrocautery in which both active and return electrodes are incorporated into a single handheld instrument, so that the current passes between the tips of the two electrodes and affects only a small amount of tissue.
monopolar electrocautery (unipolar electrocautery) an electrocautery in which current is applied through a handheld active electrode and travels back to the generator through an inactive electrode attached to the patient (the grounding pad), so that the patient is part of the electrical circuit.