Minor Surgery

Benign skin lesions such as seborrhoeic warts, skin tags and moles can treated by cryotherapy, curettage or excision.

Cryotherapy

Seborrhoeic Warts

This is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart or skin tag solid. It takes about 10 seconds of freezing and stings while it is being done. The wart or skin tag will then die and drop off. Blistering, weeping and scabbing maybe part of this process, which will take about 2 weeks.

It is common for seborrhoeic warts to only partly respond and so there may be an irregular remnant. This may need further treatment.

The lower leg in elderly people does not heal well so it best to avoid treating lesions in these circumstances.

Dark skin responds to short freezes by increased pigmentation, leaving darker marks which can be very persistent. Long freezes can kill melanocytes and result in permanent pale marks.

Freezing in hair-bearing areas may upset hair growth or permanently destroy hair follicles.

Curettage

After a local anaesthetic injection the seborrhoeic wart is scraped off with a curette. A curette is like a small sharp spoon. The raw area will scab and heal over about a week. The appearance is usually improved, but a feint scar may remain.

Excision

After a local anaesthetic injection the mole is cut out with a scalpel. The cut will be elliptical and will be closed with a stitch or two. This leaves a small surgical scar. Rarely scars can thicken or even grow, this is called a keloid scar and maybe worse than the original problem.