Cautery artifact

Cautery artifact

Cautery artifact is the term pathologists use to describe how heat changes how cells look when examined under the microscope. Electrocautery is commonly used during surgical procedures. Electrocautery stops bleeding by heating the tissue and clotting the blood.

When examined under a microscope, cautery artifact causes the cytoplasm (cell’s body) to look pinker (eosinophilic) and the cell’s nucleus to look darker (hyperchromatic) and stretched out compared to normal cells. These changes can make it difficult for a pathologist to decide if any other disease-related changes are also happening in the tissue.

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Doctors wrote this article to help you read and understand your pathology report. Contact us if you have questions about this article or your pathology report. For a complete introduction to your pathology report, read this article.

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