Definition of diathermy in US English:



  • A medical and surgical technique involving the production of heat in a part of the body by high-frequency electric currents, to stimulate the circulation, relieve pain, destroy unhealthy tissue, or cause bleeding vessels to clot.

    • ‘Manipulation is better than sham therapy and several methods that have been shown to be ineffective or harmful, such as traction, corsets, bed rest, diathermy, and no therapy.’
    • ‘One patient received diathermy following oral surgery, the other for treatment of chronic scoliosis.’
    • ‘The energy from diathermy can cause tissue heating at the site surrounding the implant and has the potential to cause tissue injury.’
    • ‘Laparoscopic ovarian diathermy or ‘drilling’ has replaced wedge resection of the ovaries in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.’
    • ‘The chief hazards from dental equipment to pacemakers are from electrosurgery and diathermy, but these are infrequently used and the risk from other equipment such as ultrasonic scalers or pulp testers is very small.’


Early 20th century: from dia- ‘through’ + Greek thermon ‘heat’.