Doctor drawing procedure lines on woman's face.

Skin Lesion Removal

“Lesion removal” is the process used to describe the removal of an abnormal growth on the skin (lesion), such as a wart, mole, or a skin cancer. There are various reasons why patients undergo lesion removal procedures, including:

  • Cosmetic reasons
  • Lesion is causing skin irritation
  • Lesion is precancerous or cancerous

Skin Lesion Removal: What to Expect

Lesion removal procedures are typically performed in a plastic surgeon’s office as an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient is free to return home upon completion. The surgeon will clean the skin and numb the skin surrounding the lesion with a local anesthetic. Depending on the size, location and type of lesion, there are different ways of performing lesion removals, such as:

  • Laser surgery: This process uses a high-energy beam to destroy the skin tissue
  • Surgical removal: This procedure uses a scalpel or punch biopsy to excise the lesion
  • Electrosurgery: This method uses an electrical current to destroy the lesion
  • Cryosurgery: This process involves freezing the lesion with a cold liquid or instrument
  • Curettage: This procedure involves scrapping the lesion off with a circular instrument
  • Mohs’ micrographic surgery: In this method several excisions are used to remove a cancerous lesion and examine it under the microscope.

Most patients who undergo lesion removal are free to return to their normal activities immediately following the procedure. The procedure itself, depending on the technique that is used, can take 5 to 20 minutes. If needed, the patient is seen a week later for suture removal and to discuss pathology results.

Possible Skin Lesion Removal Risks

As with any procedure, there is always a possibility of complications. Those should be discussed with your surgeon prior to surgery so you know what to expect and are aware of any potential risks. Possible risks with lesion removal include:

  • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia or other substances used during the procedure
  • Temporary or permanent nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Bleeding below the skin, hematoma
  • Severe scarring
  • Reoccurrence of the lesion if cancerous

If you experience any of the following symptoms after the procedure, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Signs of infection
  • Fever or chills
  • Severe redness
  • Swelling
  • Increasing pain
  • Excessive bleeding