Removing benign skin lesions (under local anaesthetics)
A benign skin lesion may be removed if it is causing you significant problems or is bothersome, if there is any question that it could be cancerous or for cosmetic reasons.
The removal of benign skin lesions under local anaesthetic is performed in a number of ways including shaving off, cutting out, freezing off and scooping away. The type of procedure will depend on your skin lesion type, size and location.
What is a benign skin lesion?
A benign skin lesion is a non-cancerous area of skin that is growing abnormally or looks different to your normal skin around it. It is typically a small lump on or just below your skin such as a mole, skin tag, keratosis, cyst, wart, corn or callus.
How are benign skin lesions removed?
Benign skin lesions are usually surgically removed under local anaesthetic or mild sedation. The type of surgery to remove your benign lesion will depend on the type, size and location of your lesion.
The main techniques to remove benign skin lesions include:
- Partial removal (shave biopsy) – a lesion that sticks out from your skin is ‘shaved’ off so it is the same level of the surrounding skin. This is often combined with cautery which uses heat to seal the skin and stop bleeding. It is used for skin tags, keratosis and shallow moles.
- Complete removal (excision biopsy) – your whole skin lesion is cut out and surgically removed plus a margin of skin around its edge. The wounds will be closed using glue, adhesive strips or stitches. It is used for larger moles or moles that might be cancerous.
- Freezing (cryotherapy) – your lesion is frozen off using liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen is applied to your lesion for about ten seconds. A blister will then form that will fall off after a week or two and take the lesion with it. It is used for warts, skin tags and keratosis.
- Scooping away (curettage) – your lesion is gently scooped away using a curette spoon. This is often combined with cryotherapy or cautery. It is used for warts and keratoses.
What is the recovery process after removing benign skin lesion?
If your skin lesion has been removed under local anaesthetic you may not have full feeling in the treated area for an hour or two so you need to be careful not to bump it. The area may feel tender afterwards and you can take over-the-counter pain relief.
You will be able to go home shortly after your procedure.
Your care team will give you advice about your recovery process and how to care for your wound. A follow-up appointment and a date for the removal of any stitches may be arranged for you. If your skin lesion has been sent for analysis you will receive the results from your doctor.
You will be able to go back to your daily activities and work the following day unless they put a strain on your stitches.
What is the cost of the benign skin lesion procedure?
The cost of your benign skin lesion procedure will depend on the type of lesion you have and the procedure used to remove it.
These guide prices are an estimate of costs and you will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our surgeons. This formal quote for your benign skin lesion will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.
We have a number of finance options available for self-pay patients having their lesion removed for cosmetic reasons. These include All-inclusive Total Care where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price delivers direct access to all the treatment they need for complete reassurance, pay as you go and, interest-free medical finance loans.
Benign skin lesion removal under local anaesthetic costs may be covered by your medical insurance policy. In the case of moles, the removal of a benign lesion is often recommended as a precautionary measure to avoid the risk of the mole turning cancerous later on and as such is often covered by medical insurance. We advise that you check with, and get written authorisation from, your insurance provider that they cover your specific treatment for benign skin lesion removal under local anaesthetic before commencing treatment.
Reviewed by Mr T K Sankar