Curettage and Cautery
This technique is used to remove benign growths such as seborrhoeic warts, areas of sun damage (solar keratoses) and occasionally low risk skin cancers. It does not require the use of stitches.
The skin surrounding the lesion to be removed will be injected with local anaesthetic. Using a curette the lesion will be scraped off. Any bleeding will be cauterised. A dressing will be applied which can be removed after 24 hours. If appropriate, the specimen removed will be sent for analysis under the microscope.
The effects of the local anaesthetic will wear off after 2 to 3 hours. If it is painful then take an analgesic such as paracetamol. It is not a good idea to take ibuprofen or aspirin within 24 hours of the procedure (other than a daily prescribed ‘mini aspirin’) as these may exacerbate any bleeding.
Where the lesion has been removed you will notice a red/black area like a graze which will heal over a period of
1 – 2 weeks. You may prefer to keep the area covered with a simple dressing for 3 to 4 days, but usually this isn’t necessary. In due course a scab will drop off to leave new skin underneath. Sometimes the scar is a little darker or lighter than the surrounding skin but this usually evens up with time.