Curettage and cautery Dermatology2019-11-08T17:45:41+00:00

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Curettage and cautery is an effective treatment for a range of skin conditions

I CAN OFTEN PERFORM THE TREATMENT ON THE SAME DAY AS YOUR FIRST APPOINTMENT

What is curettage and cautery?

Curettage and cautery is a simple surgical procedure that I perform under local anaesthetic. During curettage and cautery, I scrape off a lesion under local anaesthetic, and then apply heat to the resulting wound, allowing the lesion to resolve.

Who does curettage and cautery help?

Curettage and cautery can address a wide range of skin conditions from sun damage (such as actinic keratoses and Bowen’s disease), to low-grade skin cancers like superficial Basal Cell Carcinoma, as well as raised benign skin lesions like warts and fleshy moles that catch.

What is curettage and cautery most suitable for?

Curettage and cautery is best suited to well defined, superficial skin lesions that are either benign, consist of sun damage, or are superficial low-grade tumours. It may also be suitable for some larger warts or thickened areas of sun damage that are unlikely/have failed to respond to creams or cryotherapy.

How often will you need curettage and cautery?

Curettage and cautery is intended to be a one-off treatment, and should allow your problem to resolve following a minimally invasive procedure.

What can you expect after treatment?

On average, it can take 2-3 weeks for the wound to heal over. It would help if you allowed any formed scab to fall away naturally to reduce the chance of scarring. The wound usually settles into a faint white or pink mark over the coming months, and this is barely, if at all, noticeable over time.

Skin treatment enables people of all ages to take control of their skin condition and get their life back

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What my patients love about my service

MY PATIENTS ARE MY BEST PROMOTERS

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou for her assessment on my continued taking of roaccutane.

She was completely right, I didn’t need a new course, I needed to move away from the drug. The creams she gave me and Cetaphil recommendation have meant my skin has been the best it’s ever been (ongoing and since I saw her) ALL SUMMER :))))) I’ve had zero problems…and I’m loving it.

Thank you once again.


Phillip, Acne

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

Following the consultation today I feel it appropriate to say thank you for your help in dealing with my rosacea.

On each occasion, I have visited your department I have noticed the kindness and cheeriness of all the staff I have encountered and particularly wanted to say that you made me feel at ease with your calmness and excellent manner.

All is much appreciated.”


Anne, Rosacea

“Thank you very much!!

You three were (and are) a great team!

I will remember you.

You made me feel comfortable.”


Ellie

“Tania,

Please pass to Dr Pratsou my thanks for her skilled work.

The wound is healing beautifully and now the stitches are out it looks as though it will be almost invisible once fully healed.”


Graham, Skin cancer removal

“Dear Dr Penelope, Rena & the team, (I can’t remember the nurse’s name who helped me during my 2 procedures at the Spire!)

I wanted to thank you for your support and help during a very difficult time. You guys do a wonderful job – and we are eternally grateful for your help.”


Clarissa, Skin cancer

“I would like to put on record how impressed I was with the operation you performed for the removal of the SCC on my neck. I cannot even see where the cut or the stitches were! I am indeed very grateful for the excellent work you do.”


Harry, Squamous Cell Carcinoma

“Dear Dr Pratsou,

I am very grateful to you for your diagnosis, recommended treatment and advice. Your letter to my GP sets out both the course of events, and your own analysis of probable condition and possible cause, clearly summarising our discussion.

I hope there will be no recurrence but I will certainly come back to you if there is.”


Ryan, Skin rash

“Dear Tania,

Please pass on my thanks to Dr Pratsou. I saw her this morning for a mole check. She was so lovely and reassuring. Please also thank the two nurses who assisted her during the mole removal procedure. I was very nervous, but they were very efficient, which meant I did not have too long to think about it, but most of all they were very kind. They kept me distracted and calm, which made a huge difference. Thank you also for your efficiency in both booking me in so quickly.”


James, Mole removal
Dear Ms. Pratsou,

I am writing to thank you for the care you have given me in the past few months. From the moment I walked into your consulting room with a lesion on my cheek, a lesion that I fully expected to be some sort of skin cancer (and it was), you have been thorough, reassuring, respectful and in every way professional.

You recognised that I had some insight into the condition of my skin and the procedures required to treat me. You listened to me. You projected expertise and compassion.

During the procedure to remove the growth you ensured that the atmosphere in the treatment room remained not only calm, but actually pleasant. Had it not been that you were excising a growth and sewing me up, I almost felt as if you, me and the nurse were at some sort of women’s discussion group. The time flew by. I had zero anxieties about the procedure and as we both know now, the wound healed flawlessly.

Thank you for your expertise and your communication skills and all round good nature. I feel very lucky.


Karen Tatom, Skin cancer removal

We have replaced the images and names of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.

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I’ll guide you down the road towards a resolution of your skin condition so that you can get back to normal life.

More information about curettage and cautery

FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE DETAILS

Curettage and cautery is best suited to well-defined, superficial skin lesions that are either benign, consist of sun damage, or are superficial low-grade tumours.

It may also be suitable for some larger warts or thickened areas of sun damage that are unlikely/have failed to respond to creams or cryotherapy.

I will require you to attend an initial consultation to assess your lesion and determine whether curettage and cautery is the most suitable treatment.

Curettage and cautery is best suited to well defined, superficial skin lesions that are either benign, consist of sun damage, or are superficial low-grade tumours.

It may also be suitable for some larger warts or thickened areas of sun damage that are unlikely/have failed to respond to creams or cryotherapy.

I can safely perform curettage and cautery on most body sites, but I sometimes avoid some sensitive areas or places such as the lower legs, if I suspect delayed healing to be a potential issue.

Curettage and cautery is a minor procedure that I can often perform on the same day as your appointment by prior arrangement.

Following your written consent, I numb the lesion by injection with a local anaesthetic, rendering the procedure painless.

I will then skim the lesion off the surface of the skin. I then cauterise (that is, apply heat) to the resulting superficial wound. That burns off any remnants of the lesion and seals it, which also stops any bleeding.

Depending on the type of lesion I treat, I may perform the process of curettage and cautery once, twice or three times in one sitting (for example, a premalignant or malignant lesion may need triple curettage and cautery).

A scab generally forms in the treated area. It is essential you avoid picking the scab to prevent excessive scarring.

I apply a dressing for the first 48 hours, but that can then be taken off to allow the scab to harden and fall away naturally over the coming days or weeks.

You may experience some discomfort, much like a graze, for 24-48 hours after the procedure. Infection is uncommon but can present with pain and pus formation.

The skin usually heals with a red or white mark (scar) in place of the previous lesion.

Though unlikely, an indented scar can sometimes occur at the site of treatment. It is crucial to follow my aftercare recommendations to minimise this possibility.

Additionally, I advise you avoid sun exposure to recently treated areas to reduce the chance of increased (hyper-) pigmentation.

How long will it take to heal from curettage and cautery?

Healing time depends on a variety of factors, including the type of lesion and body site I treat.

On average, it can take 2-3 weeks for the wound to heal over. It would help if you allowed any formed scab to fall away naturally to reduce the chance of scarring. The wound may initially look indented or red and raised at the edges, but usually, it settles into a faint white or pink mark over the coming months.

Can I have multiple lesions treated in one sitting?

It is indeed possible for me to treat more than one lesion with curettage and cautery in one sitting. If there are many lesions I need to treat, I may need to spread your treatment over more than one visit. I will advise you of how many sessions you can expect following your initial consultation.

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About the author

Dr Penelope Pratsou | Consultant Dermatologist

MBChB, MRCP (UK) (Dermatology)

I’m Dr Penelope Pratsou, a skilled independent Consultant Dermatologist based in Berkshire. I have specialist expertise in the diagnosis and management of all skin cancers, and in performing mole checks. I’m a trained skin surgeon and remove skin cancers, moles, skin tags, cysts and warts.

I also have invaluable experience in dealing with all skin conditions, from the common skin complaints of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, to the rarer and more complex skin problems, having seen it all through years of NHS work.

After I obtained my Membership to the Royal College of Physicians, I undertook rigorous specialist training in dermatology, before being appointed as a Consultant Dermatologist at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading. There, I helped set up and lead a busy clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of suspected skin cancer. I was also actively involved in supervising and training both dermatology and GP trainees.

Alongside my increasingly busy private practice, I have maintained an NHS practice in Oxford in order to continue to engage with challenging cases and to develop my specialist interest in skin allergy.

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