Removing Benign Skin Lesions (under Local Anaesthetic)
This document will give you information about removing benign skin lesions. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What are skin lesions?
Skin lesions are found on or just below the skin. Examples of skin lesions are epidermoid cysts, lipomata, skin tags and moles.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Surgery is the only way to remove skin lesions reliably but you may simply leave them alone.
What does the operation involve?
The operation usually takes between fifteen and twenty five minutes. When removing an epidermoid cyst, your surgeon will make an elliptical cut over the cyst and will then cut it out.
To remove a lipoma, your surgeon will make a straight cut in the skin directly over it. The lipoma is freed up from the tissues and removed. A skin tag can simply be numbed with local anaesthetic and then removed. When removing a mole, your surgeon will cut all the way around it using an elliptical cut.
What complications can happen?
- Infection in the surgical site (wound)
- Unsightly scarring
- Wound breakdown, if the skin fails to heal
- A lipoma or an epidermoid cyst can come back
- A larger operation may be needed
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home a short while after the operation.
You should be able to return to work the following day unless your work will put a strain on the stitches. It is unusual for these procedures to restrict any daily activities you carry out.
Skin lesions are common and can be treated by surgery.
Author: Mr Ayan Banerjea FRCS (Gen. Surg.) and Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
Illustrations: Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.