Excision of skin lesions

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Removal of an abnormal growth on the skin

A skin lesion – a lump, bump or unusual mark on your skin – may be removed if it's causing discomfort or concern.

About

Common skin lesions include moles, freckles, birthmarks, cysts, warts and skin tags. Although they're usually harmless (benign), you may have a lesion removed for cosmetic reasons or as a precaution against skin cancer. You may also have a skin lesion removed to diagnose or treat skin cancer.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    An excision (removal of a skin lesion) is usually a simple and quick procedure.


    Your consultant will first numb the area using a local anaesthetic. Depending on the type of skin lesion you have, they may cut it out completely or remove it using a laser, a precise electric current (electrodesiccation) or specialised surgical scissors.


    Your consultant will then treat the area in the best way to minimise scarring. This could include closing it with stitches and applying a dressing. Or, if the lesion was very small, simply leaving it to heal.


    The tissue removed may be sent to a lab and analysed if there is concern that it may be cancerous.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know how to prepare for the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

    It’s important to tell your consultant about any medications you’re taking, particularly any blood-thinning tablets such as aspirin. Aspirin-based medicines can make the area more likely to bleed. For this reason, your consultant might also suggest avoiding alcohol in the days leading up to surgery.

    Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.

  • Afterwards icon plus

    You should be able to go home the same day as your appointment. Your consultant will explain how to care for the area in the days and weeks following the procedure for the best cosmetic result. If you've had stitches, they'll let you know if you need to return to have them removed.
    If the tissue removed has been sent for analysis, your consultant will let you know if any further treatment is needed.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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