What is a benign skin lesion?
Benign skin lesion is an umbrella term for a range of lumps and bumps including angioma, moles, cysts, keratoses, skin tags, calluses, corns and warts.
What are the symptoms of benign skin lesions?
Each lesion makes its own mark on the skin and can be unsightly, itchy or in extreme cases an obstacle to free movement or function.
When should I seek treatment for a benign skin lesion?
Benign skin lesions are usually harmless and do not need to be removed. However, you may be advised to have a skin lesion removed if it interferes with your everyday life or it becomes cancerous.
You may also decide to have a skin lesion removed because you do not like the way that it looks.
What does the treatment of benign skin lesions involve?
Treatment will depend on the size of the lesion, how deep it is and where it is on your body. Benign skin lesion removal usually takes place under topical local anaesthetic.
Depending on the benign skin lesion to be removed, you may experience one of the following procedures:
● Partial removal, where your practitioner ‘shaves’ the lesion off at its base so it is at the level of the surrounding skin. This may be combined with a technique called cautery which seals the skin and stops bleeding. This method is used for lesions such as keratosis, skin tags and ‘shallow’ moles.
● Laser removal, where the entire lesion is removed via the red or brown pigment within the lesion. Your practitioner will remove the lesion by heating it up and it will eventually come away afterwards. This is a technique used for vascular moles, cherry angioma and certain thick sunspots.
● Freezing (which involves freezing off the lesion with liquid nitrogen). Also known as cryotherapy it can be used to remove warts, skin tags and keratosis. The liquid nitrogen is applied to the lesion for about 10 seconds. A blister will form which, when it falls off, will take the lesion with it
● Diathermy is where your practitioner will use a fine needle with a gentle current that gently heats up the lesion and is generally used for warts, skin tags and keratosis. It is often combined with cryotherapy or cautery.
How long will micro surgery take?
This depends on the technique being used and the extent of the lesion or lesions. You will be given an idea of how long your procedure will take at your pre-treatment assessment.
What are the results of benign skin lesion removal?
The area treated may be red and inflamed for a while. Most lesions will usually disappear immediately however may take up to 10 to 14 days after the procedure. Discomfort is usually minimal and can be managed easily with over-the-counter wound care.
Depending on the type of lesion you have had removed and where it is on your body, your practitioner may advise you to avoid stretching the skin, avoid direct sunlight and heat in the area where surgery has taken place.
For up 10 days after your treatment you will need to keep the wound dressed, and then gently clean it daily. Scarring should be minimal and should fade significantly after three months.
What are the risks and complications of a benign skin lesion removal?
Temporary side effects may include swelling, bruising, itching and some discomfort. Complications are rare but may include infection (which can be treated with topical antibiotics), temporary damage to the nerves near the surface of the skin resulting in numbness or a burning sensation.
If you experience any complications please contact the clinic on 07 38494111.
A pre-treatment assessment is our opportunity to ensure that the procedure for which you have been referred is right for you. We’ll explain your treatment to you and make sure that you are well enough to go ahead with it. It is also your opportunity to meet the team who will care for you and to ask any questions. If you have had micro surgery we will advise you as to when to come back in to have them reviewed.
Is cosmetic benign lesion removal covered by Medicare?
Unless a benign skin lesion is a threat to the patient’s health or function, its removal isn’t considered medically necessary. Medicare reimburses skin tag, seborrheic keratosis, wart and flat wart removal only if they are bleeding, painful, very pruritic, inflamed or possibly malignant in which case we would refer you to a relevant specialist.