While skin tags, moles, cysts, and other abnormal skin growths are not always dangerous, they are not always welcome on the skin. Whether the growths are cosmetically displeasing or developing into something more serious, there are several techniques available to have them removed.
Moles and Skin Tags
Moles, skin tags, and other similar growths can be removed by cutting, freezing, or burning. If there is any suspicion that the growth is cancerous, cutting the entire mass as well as some surrounding tissue is the preferred method because it allows the removed tissue to be thoroughly examined.
What to Expect
For all three methods, the area will typically be numbed with a local anesthetic before the procedure. After the procedure, a bandage may be applied.
- Cutting the growth off is straightforward. A scalpel is used to slice the growth off flush with the skin. Some moles and other skin growths may have tissue that extends below the skin, in which case the doctor will have to cut more deeply to make sure the entire growth is removed. Some of these deeper excavations may require a stitch or two to close the wound.
- Freezing the growth with liquid nitrogen is a quick and easy method to eliminate skin tags and bumps. The doctor will spray or swab the growth with liquid nitrogen, and the growth will flake or drop off within a few days of the treatment. Some larger growths may need repeated treatments to remove the entire structure.
- Burning a growth off is sometimes the preferred approach. An electric current is passed through a thin wire, making the wire very hot. The hot wire is used to burn off the abnormal tissue. The heat cauterizes the site and prevents any bleeding. Larger growths may need repeated treatments to remove all of the tissue.
Cysts are closed sac-like structures that occasionally form in the skin. These usually develop from a sebaceous gland due to an injury or infection. Cysts are often filled with sebum, a semi-solid substance. Sometimes cysts can be treated by inserting a needle into the cyst and aspirating the contents. Many cysts, however, will simply re-fill within a matter of days. Because cysts extend under the skin, the doctor will have to cut through the skin in order to remove them. A local anesthetic will be used to minimize pain. Depending on the size of the cyst, stitches may be necessary to close the wound.
How Long Does it Take
Removing a simple growth, regardless of the method used, usually only takes a few minutes. There may be some minor discomfort during and after the procedure. The site will need to be kept clean and protected until it heals. Scarring rarely occurs when a small growth is removed.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you have a growth, mole or cyst that needs to be removed, contact Southeastern Dermatology in Lumberton. At Southeastern Dermatology, we specialize in skin care and aesthetic treatments. Our medical team, led by Dr. Hendricks, will work with you assess the mass and determine the safest and most effective treatment method. We can also help determine whether or not it warrants further testing or a biopsy.