Local anesthesia will be used. It will make the area numb.
Description of the Procedure
The area will be cleaned. The skin surrounding the lesion will be numbed by anesthesia. Techniques for skin lesion removal vary depending on the reason for removal and lesion location. Common techniques include:
Removal with scalpel—The lesion is cut away with a surgical knife.
Electrosurgery—This is the use of an electrical current to selectively destroy skin tissue.
Cryosurgery—A cold liquid or instrument is used to freeze and remove the lesion.
Curettage—This is the scraping of the skin with a circular cutting loop instrument.
Mohs micrographic surgery—This is used to examine suspected cancerous lesions. Small pieces of tissue are successively removed and then viewed microscopically for signs of
cancer. The goal is to get all the cancer tissue and leave as much healthy tissue as possible.
After the lesion is removed, stitches may be used to close the hole left in the skin. A bandage will be placed over the area.
How Long Will It Take?
This depends on which procedure is used. Most are completed within 20 minutes.
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may have some discomfort at the surgery site after the procedure.
When you get home:
Keep the area clean and dry. Keep it covered with a sterile bandage for 1-2 days.
Take pain medication if necessary.
Follow any special care instructions to prevent infection.
Stitches will be left in the skin for 3-14 days, depending on where they are located.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
New or unexpected symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Diagnostic tests for skin disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/approach-to-the-dermatologic-patient/diagnostic-tests-for-skin-disorders. Accessed September 5, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Donald W. Buck II, MD
Last Updated: 10/13/2020
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