Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cautery (Gk. a branding - iron). The old classification of cauteries is into actual and potential. The potential cautery is a stick of caustic (q.v.), the actual cautery is a hot piece of metal. The actual cautery is used in surgery as a counter-irritant, and as a means of checking haemorrhage. In its simplest form it consists of a piece of iron which is made white hot in the fire; in the benzoline or Paqueline's cautery the surgeon possesses a useful instrument, the heat of which admits of regulation by working a spray-producer, which drives a stream of benzoline vapour between heated platinum surfaces. The heat of the cautery varies with the rate at which the vapour is made to ignite. In the galvano-cautery a galvanic current is caused to heat a platinum wire. Paquelin's and the galvano-cautery are often used in operations upon structures which bleed readily, and in which it is difficult to control bleeding points by ligature or torsion.