Skin Surgery Information

To remove a piece of abnormal skin we usually numb it by injecting local anaesthetic into it. The skin is then either curetted (dug out), or cut out with a scalpel to the shape of an ellipse. This ellipse is usually about four times as long as the abnormal skin is wide to allow the normal skin to be pulled together easily. If skin is cut out the normal skin will need stitches to bring it together. If it is curetted we often use an electric current to lightly burn the open area to stop the bleeding.

The common risks of these procedures are:

  1. The abnormal skin is not completely removed, which may mean further surgery is required.
  2. Infection. This can usually be easily treated with antibiotics and good wound care. However, infection can make scarring worse and slow wound healing.
  3. Scarring. There is always a risk of scarring. Often the scar is hardly noticeable, but in some cases scars can be large and more noticeable. Scarring can also cause skin to contract and alter people’s appearance. If scarring is something that greatly concerns you please discuss it with us. Scarring is not always predictable.


Almost all abnormal skin once removed is sent to the hospital to be looked at under a microscope to figure out what is wrong with it and to make sure that enough skin has been removed. It can often take 2 –3 weeks for the results to come back. We will try and give you the results if you are coming back to have your stitches removed. We will ring you if you need further treatment but will NOT ring you if the result is as expected and no further treatment is needed.
Please feel free to ring for your result or to ask about it when you next see the doctor.

(Page updated on 31/05/2016 9:44am)