Skin Lesion Removal- Dermatology

Skin lesions are growths, lumps, sores, discolorations or irregularities on your skin. When you notice a skin lesion which worries you cosmetically, is painful or uncomfortable, or worries you that it can be a cancer, your first option is to visit your doctor. The doctor will decide whether to remove it as a simple procedure now or later after proper testing. It depends on the size and diagnosis of the lesion. Skin lesion removal is commonly done under local anesthesia. Removal of simple lesions takes only 15 – 20 minutes. However some lesions may be complicated and intervention will take more time. You should not unnecessarily worry about the procedure as they are done by specialized doctors or dermatologists.

What are the lesions which could be removed?

  • Simple lesions (benign) – warts, sebaceous cysts, moles, carbuncles, keloids, calluses, sun spots, hairy naevi, molluscum contageosm, seborrhaic keratosis etc.
  • Ulcerative lesions
  • Pre-cancerous lesions – atypical moles
  • Cancerous lesions – Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma and metastasis (spread) of other cancers to skin.

What are the methods of skin lesion removal?

There are several ways to remove skin lesions depending on the type and size of the lesion.

  1. Biopsy – When there is a suspicious lesion, your doctor will take a small piece of it and send for pathological testing. Once the reports are available excision is planned.
  2. Surgical excision – The whole lesion along with some of surrounding area is cut and removed.
  3. Plastic surgery – The lesion is excised in a finer way where the scar is minimal.
  4. Cryo surgery – Liquid Nitrogen is used to freeze the lesion and destroy the cells.
  5. Electro-cautery – A special device which sends an electrical current is used to cut out, burn and destroy the lesion.
  6. Curettage and Electrodessication – Lesion is removed part by part by scraping and scooping away with a special instrument.
  7. LASER surgery – High concentration LASER light is used to destroy the lesion. This method is costly.
  8. Mohs micrographic surgery – Lesion is removed layer by layer while checking for cancer cells. This procedure is time consuming.

What are the benefits of skin lesion removal?

  • If any skin lesion is worrying you cosmetically it is a great relief to remove it off. Especially if it is painful and uncomfortable.
  • The doctor should be able to diagnose and remove cancerous lesions which are harmful to your body. Once removed, further management will be planned accordingly.

What are the possible disadvantages of skin lesion removal?

  • Bleeding under the skin causing a hematoma (blood clot)
  • Procedure can be painful during and after, even with local anesthesia and pain killers
  • Possibility of infection
  • May leave a scar which might be permanent

When to seek help?

  • If there are signs of infection like high fever, oozing of pus, increasing pain, redness and swelling
  • If there is a hematoma which is big and does not resolve
  • If the lesion reappears
  • If the scar turns a keloid (When the scar becomes lumpy and irregular)
  • If the removed lesion was a cancer, you will have to comply with further management plan accordingly.

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