Electrosurgery is the application of a high-frequency electric current to biological tissue as a means to cut, coagulate, desiccate, or fulgurate tissue. (These terms are used in specific ways for this methodology—see below). Its benefits include the ability to make precise cuts with limited blood loss. Electrosurgical devices are frequently used during surgical operations helping to prevent blood loss in hospital operating rooms or in outpatient procedures.
In electrosurgical procedures, the tissue is heated by an electric current. Although electrical devices may be used for the cauterization of tissue in some applications, electrosurgery is usually used to refer to a quite different method than electrocautery. The latter uses heat conduction from a probe heated to a glowing temperature by a direct current (much in the manner of a soldering iron). This may be accomplished by direct current from dry-cells in a penlight-type device. Electrosurgery, by contrast, uses alternating current to directly heat the tissue itself. When this results in destruction of small blood vessels and halting of bleeding, it is technically a process of electrocoagulation, although "electrocautery" is sometimes loosely and nontechnically used to describe it.
Often electrosurgery is mistakenly referred to as diathermy. Unlike Ohmic heating by electric current passing through the conductive tissue in conventional electrosurgery, diathermy means dielectric heating, produced by rotation of molecular dipoles in high frequency alternating electric field. This effect is most widely used in microwave ovens which operate at gigahertz frequencies.
Electrosurgery is commonly used in dermatological, gynecological, cardiac, plastic, ocular, spine, ENT, maxillofacial, orthopedic, urological, neuro- and general surgical procedures as well as certain dental procedures.
Electrosurgery is performed using an electrosurgical generator (also referred to as power supply or waveform generator) and a handpiece including one or several electrodes, sometimes referred to as an RF Knife. The apparatus when used for cutting or coagulation in surgery is still often referred to informally by surgeons as a "Bovie," after the inventor. You can buy Bovie Elecrsourgical products HERE