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Logo of procrsmedFormerly medchtJournal of the Royal Society of MedicineProceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine
Proc R Soc Med. 1929 January; 22(3): 339–348.
PMCID: PMC2101034

Treatment of Pelvic Inflammations by Diathermy


The paper consists of two parts: (1) A brief history of the manner in which the treatment arose and a description of the methods now used. (2) An analysis of the cases treated from 1921 until the present time.

The treatment of pelvic inflammations by heating by the diathermy current arose out of the method of treating gonococcal infections of the cervix and urethra by this current. An essential part of the treatment is in many cases the treatment of the cervical infection.

Diathermy treatment of gonococcal infection was founded upon the fact that the gonococcus is vulnerable to small rises of temperature above the normal. Before the war Dr. E. P. Cumberbatch found that recovery of gonorrhœal arthritis could be procured by heating the affected joints by diathermy. During 1919 the method of heating the cervix and urethra by means of metal electrodes introduced into them to rid them of gonococcus was arrived at.

The maximum temperature to which cervix and urethra are heated is 115° F. The duration of the application is ten minutes and the number of repetitions is generally from three to eight.

It was found that in cases of gonococcal arthritis it was necessary to treat the cervix only, recovery from the arthritis then taking place.

Recovery from arthritis due to infection of the cervix by other organisms than gonococcus, was found to occur and in such cases there was recovery from cervicitis and erosion.

When salpingitis was present in cases of gonococcal and other infections of the cervix, a method of producing a milder and more general heating of the pelvic contents was introduced. This was to some extent founded upon the known effects of heating the infected prostate.

The temperature produced in the neighbourhood of the electrode is 106° F. The applications last twenty minutes.

Tables summarizing the clinical results are attached.

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