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Paul C. Blaisdell, M.D.
JAMA. 1957;165(11):1392. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.72980290002007a.
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The hot cautery electrode herewith illustrated (see figure) was developed for safer and easier destruction of polyps through a proctoscope. At the present time, surgical diathermy, in spite of fundamental disadvantages, has achieved greater favor for the purpose than has hot cauterization, because of an armamentarium more highly developed for technical convenience.

It is my conviction, both from a theoretical standpoint and from clinical experience, that cold cauterization is far more prone to result in perforation of the intestine than is thermal cauterization. This is particularly so for the occasional operator, although experts report this serious accident in such incidence that its occurrence seems to be almost inevitable in extended proctologic practice.

Deep, extensive, and almost instantaneous destruction of tissue is prone to occur with diathermy, because the only guide as to what will happen is an arbitrary setting whose only meaning must be in terms relative to the actual


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