Fine Wire Diathermy

Fine wire diathermy is a very common procedure performed at Melbourne Skin & Dermatology.  The procedure is sometimes referred to as electrosurgery.

The procedure involves the use of a pen-like device which enters the skin and delivers pulses of high electrical energy to heat and destroy specific skin concerns.


What is fine wire diathermy used for?

The procedure is useful for a number of medical and cosmetic dermatological complaints listed below:

  • Acne, specifically comedonal acne (blackheads and whiteheads)
  • Milia
  • Sebaceous Hyperplasia (benign sweat gland tumours)
  • Telangiectasia or ‘broken capillaries’
  • Spider naevi or spider angiomas
  • Skin tags (acrochordons)
  • Seborrheic keratoses (warty like growths)
  • Benign intradermal naevi (raised skin coloured moles)
  • Molluscum Contagiosum
  • Fordyce spots
  • Pearly Penile Papules


How is the procedure performed?

After lying down in a suitable position and making sure the patient is comfortable, the practitioner will use the diathermy device like a pen to touch individual skin lesions or blood vessels.  The diathermy machine produces a beeping noise when the device is activated.  Sometimes a burning smell may be produced which is completely normal.  Treatments can take anywhere from seconds to several minutes to perform, depending on the number of lesions or size of area being treated.

The treatment is usually tolerated well without anaesthetic, however at times anaesthetic solutions may be applied on or injected in the skin.

Internal eye shields may need to be inserted when our dermatologists perform this treatment for lesions around the eyes.  This is done by using a drop of anaesthetic in the eye and then insertion of a non-conductive plastic eye shield which is coated by antibiotic ointment.  There is usually minimal discomfort during insertion of the eye shields.  At the end of the procedure, the eye shield is removed and sterilized.

Depending on the type of lesion treated, the area of treatment can become red immediately and become a little swollen.  This usually settles after a few hours followed by some crusting which usually settles after 5 to 7 days.  Patients may be advised to use Vaseline regularly to avoid unnecessary scabbing.  Strict sun protection should be adhered to.  Scarring is a risk in some patients. Repeated treatments may be required in some conditions.

Fine wire diathermy can be performed by our dermatologists, nurses and dermal therapists depending on the nature of the condition being treated as well as the location and skin type of the individual.

If you think you would benefit from this treatment, please feel free to contact us to book a consultation.


Fine Wire Diathermy Image

Specialist Skin Services

As an all-round specialist dermatology clinic, we work with our patients to achieve their goals and always maintain professional standards.