Okay, so first post here, howdy, nice to meet you!

I’m working on a story that involves a woman on a vendetta who decides that she will begin trying to avoid killing people, however mutilation is fine, so she creates a heated blade weapon to fight with.

The idea is that all mutilation enacted with this blade will disable the victim, but cause minimal blood loss, and with careful aim, cleanly remove the limb without much extra damage. Is this theoretically possible?

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to worldbuilding. Does this answer your question worldbuilding.stackexchange.com/q/209424/30492 ? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Aug 5, 2022 at 6:31
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    $\begingroup$ That answer sounded very familiar - it's mine from before I got myself a real account! Answer's still the same. Not really. $\endgroup$
    – Ottie
    Aug 5, 2022 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


Not very hot, and it needs to be applied for a longer time.

Shamelessly stealing this link from the mentioned thread: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cauterization#Electrocautery

Notice the following phrase:

  • "The electrically produced heat in this process inherently can do numerous things to the tissue, depending on the waveform and power level, including cauterize, coagulate, cut, and dry (desiccate)."

All I have further is a personal experience with a local operation using an electrified knife (which isnt mentioned in the wiki). The knife was first put on a high setting and cut through the skin and flesh smoothly, but the wound bled a lot. Then when all the necessary cuts were made they used cauterization instead of sutures. They did this by lowering the temperature and pressing it to the wound for several seconds, and re-applying it if it still bled.

High temperatures are worse as they affect more than the area you use it on. While this will stop the bleeding at the area* you apply it too its only because the blood vessles are destroyed and unable to supply blood there anymore. The tissue surrounding it will become necrotic without expert medical care and die off while likely causing massive infections that have a high chance of killing you without modern medicine. cutting off a limb this way would likely cause Gangreen, which will necessitate you to... amputate the limb before it reaches the torso... which is kind of a problem if your limb removal method is what causes it.

Also note that the cauterization link does mention large blood vessles still need other methods of closing them off.

*I used to think it made local bleeding worse but that was wrong.

  • $\begingroup$ It is customary to wait 24 hours before accepting an answer. That way people from all over the world have a chance to see this and they might have a far better answer than mine! (Or more links and support). Unaccept my answer and wait for better ones! Edit: I see they closed it for another question despite it having (what I think) not a proper answer. $\endgroup$
    – Demigan
    Aug 5, 2022 at 17:23

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