- : The use of heat to destroy abnormal cells. Also called cauterization or electrodiathermy.
* * *Local elevation of temperature within the tissues, produced by high frequency current, ultrasonic waves, or microwave radiation. SYN: transthermia. [G. dia, through, + therme, heat]- medical d. d. of mild degree causing no destruction of tissue. SYN: thermopenetration.- short wave d. therapeutic elevation of temperature in the tissues by means of an oscillating electric current of extremely high frequency (10–100 million Hz) and short wavelength of 3–30 meters.- surgical d. electrocoagulation with a high frequency electrocautery, resulting in local tissue destruction; usually used to seal blood vessel s and arrest bleeding. SYN: diathermocoagulation.- ultrashortwave d. shortwave d. in which the wavelength is under 10 meters.
* * *dia·ther·my 'dī-ə-.thər-mē n, pl -mies the generation of heat in tissue by electric currents for medical or surgical purposes called also endothermy see ELECTROCOAGULATION, SHORTWAVE DIATHERMY
* * *n.the production of heat in a part of the body by means of a high-frequency electric current passed between two electrodes placed on the patient's skin. The heat generated increases blood flow and can be used in the treatment of deep-seated pain in rheumatic and arthritic conditions. See also microwave therapy.The principle of diathermy is also utilized in various surgical instruments: a diathermy knife, for example, is used to coagulate tissues. The knife is itself one electrode, the other being a large moistened pad applied to another part of the patient's body. Because blood is coagulated as the knife is used, and small vessels sealed off, virtually bloodless incisions may be made. Diathermy snares and needles can be used to destroy unwanted tissue and to remove small superficial neoplasms. See also electrosurgery.
* * *di·a·ther·my (diґə-thur″me) [dia- + Gr. thermē heat] heating of the body tissues due to their resistance to the passage of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation, electric currents, or ultrasonic waves. Tissues may be either simply warmed (medical d.) or coagulated and destroyed (surgical d.).
Medical dictionary. 2011.