Curettage and electrodesiccation is a skin cancer treatment commonly employed in the surgical removal of benign skin lesions, precancerous lesions and minor skin cancers. These lesions or cancers are eradicated by using a spoon-shaped medical instrument called a curette to scrape the specific area. The resulting wound is then cauterized to lessen bleeding and increase the chance of a positive outcome.
This procedure is ideal for lesions or cancers with defined borders. It is often used on parts of the body where any possible scarring will be less noticeable. Curettage and desiccation is ideal for those not suited to more complicated surgical procedures.
Beginning with an injection of a local anesthetic, the lesion and surrounding area are numbed. Your skin cancer dermatologist then scrapes the skin layers to remove abnormal cells. Desiccation that utilizes brief spurts of electrical current is then performed by the physician to minimize any bleeding around the wound.
This method of treatment offers an elevated cure rate as well as efficiency and cost effectiveness. Cancer recurrence is possible if abnormal cells are not completely destroyed, so follow-up care is key after treatment. A biopsy or other removal treatment may need to be explored in the case of a recurrence.
Risks can accompany any skin cancer treatment option, though a qualified physician can minimize those risks. Possible curettage and desiccation risks can include:
There is also a chance of cancer recurrence that could lead to alternate treatment options.
Recovery time is often minimal following this procedure, with the majority of patients being able to drive themselves home after treatment. Wounds often heal over a period of several weeks and patients are instructed in how to care for the wound to promote rapid and effective healing.
Contact our dermatologists, at any one of our Orange County dermatology offices, to learn more about our electrodesiccation and curettage treatments.