Excision of Skin Lesions
Skin lesion removal is the surgical removal of a growth on the skin for medical or cosmetic reasons. Skin lesions can include, warts, skin tags, moles and skin cancers.
There are different reasons why you may need lesion removal. These include necessity, when a lesion is precancerous or cancerous and is removed as a matter of priority. In some cases, lesions cannot be diagnosed clinically and need to be removed to be examined under a microscope in order to make a diagnosis. Benign lesions may be removed if they are situated somewhere where irritation may occur, or patients may wish to have a lesion removed for cosmetic reasons.
Precancerous skin lesions are growths that over time, present an increased risk of developing into skin cancer.
Typical examples of these include actinic keratosis and Bowens Disease which may develop into squamous cell carcinoma. There are a number of treatment options for these including cryotherapy, creams, photodynamic therapy and surgery.
Lentigo maligna is a precancerous lesion of pigment cells which may progress to malignant melanoma. These are usually treated by surgical excision.
There are 3 main types of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. They can present as new growths or changes which are not cancer but could become cancerous over time.
Any mole which is changing in size, shape or colour; or beginning to itch or bleed- should be checked by your own Doctor or a Dermatologist.
The majority of skin lesions are benign but when a new mole or mark appears on our skin, it can be difficult to tell whether it is dangerous.
Any mark or lesion that is new or is changing should always be checked by a Dermatologist to determine whether further treatment is required.
Benign lesions may be unsightly but do not present any health risk to the patient. Patients may opt to have these lesions removed for cosmetic reasons.
Examples of benign lesions include seborrheic keratosis, skin tags, dermatofibroma, sebaceous hyperplasia, lipoma and milia or tiny epidermoid cysts.
Lesion Removal Procedure
At Belfast Skin Clinic, all surgical removal of lesions is done under local anaesthetic, meaning the patient will be able to go home on the same day as having their procedure.
There are a number of techniques available for lesion removal and these may vary on the lesion location and the patient’s reason for having the procedure done. Your Consultant will discuss with you which will be the most appropriate for your individual case.
Excision with scalpel– the lesion is cut away with a surgical scalpel
Laser– this may be used for some types of lesion removal such as angiomas and sun damage spots
Cryotherapy-liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and remove the lesion
Curettage- involves scraping of the skin with a circular cutting loop
Mohs Micrographic Surgery (link to Mohs page currently on site)
Most lesion removal will be completed within 30 minutes but this may vary depending on the individual and the type of lesion being removed. For larger excisions, grafts or flaps (moving skin to cover the defect) will take longer and Mohs surgery also takes several hours.
If sutures are necessary to close the wound, absorbable sutures may be used which do not need to be removed. Non-absorbable sutures are usually removed 5-14 days after surgery depending on the surgical site.