Several skin conditions, whether they are benign or a health concern, must be removed surgically. At Silver Falls Dermatology, patients can receive electrosurgery in many cases. This procedure combines surgical removal of a growth or lesion with simultaneous cautery, which limits bleeding, reduces scarring and helps to prevent infection. Not all conditions can be treated with electrosurgery, so it is important to seek the advice of an experienced provider. Patients in Oregon and Washington can turn to Silver Falls Dermatology through one of our many locations.
What is Electrosurgery?
Electrosurgery, also referred to as electrocautery, is a surgical technique in which a needle-like device heated by an electric current is administered to the skin in order to remove growths. It can be used as an alternative to options such as excision for some patients. While it is possible to treat some forms of skin cancer or precancerous growths, electrosurgery is not recommended for melanoma. Electrosurgery may be an option for treating conditions including:
- Benign skin growths
- Skin tags
- Seborrheic keratoses (precancer)
- Some squamous cell carcinoma cases
In addition, electrosurgery may be occasionally paired with traditional excision to reduce subsequent scarring after the procedure.
The Electrosurgery Procedure
Before your electrosurgery procedure, your provider will sterilize the area and apply a topical numbing solution or administer local anesthesia as needed. The electrosurgery device will then be used to surgically remove the growth or lesion. This procedure causes simultaneous cauterization, which stops bleeding and disinfects the area. Electrosurgery can typically be completed quickly but will vary depending on the size of the growth and other factors. Your provider will explain expectations prior to your procedure.
After your electrosurgery, you will have a superficial burn on the treatment site. Your provider will give you specific instructions regarding care, including cleansing the area and using topical antibiotics to prevent infection. Typically, the burn will form a small scab within 24-48 hours, which will then fall away and fully heal within about 5-10 days.
In some cases, multiple electrosurgery procedures may be necessary to completely remove the unwanted tissue. During a consultation, your provider will explain a treatment plan for your condition.