Spot be gone! A lesson in benign growth removal

Most non-cancerous growths on the skin are harmless and do not need treatment. But when benign skin lesions become large, unsightly to the patient, easily irritated, or inflamed, removal by a Board certified dermatologist may be warranted.

Many benign skin lesions can be diagnosed with just visual inspection by your South Shore Dermatology Physicians (SSDP) specialist. However, some benign growths may require a skin biopsy in order to rule out skin cancer. If treatment is desired, the physicians at SSDP rely on an array of tools for the removal of seborrheic keratoses, cherry angiomas, acrochordons (skin tags), milia, sebaceous hyperplasia, and other skin lesions.

At SSDP, removal techniques may include:

Cryotherapy (freezing)
Commonly used for the removal of seborrheic keratoses, warts, and pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratoses), cryotherapy involves the application of extreme cold in the form of liquid nitrogen. When used for the treatment of seborrheic keratosis, the liquid nitrogen freezes the growth and causes it to fall off, usually within a few weeks. A blister may form and turn into a scab-like crust which also will fall off. Many thin seborrheic keratoses do not return after removal, but new ones may still arise in other places.

Electrocautery is used to remove growths on the skin such as cherry angiomas, acrochordons (skin tags) and sebaceous hyperplasia. The procedure uses an electric needle to target a specific lesion on the skin and gently burn and remove it. Following electrocautery, a small, superficial burn will develop at the site that will form a scab and drop off in a few days. There is little downtime after treatment with electrocautery and most people immediately resume their daily routines.

Vascular Laser
The V-Beam Laser is commonly used to treat cherry angiomas, facial redness, and broken blood vessels. Treatment takes only minutes and there are few side effects. Surrounding skin is undamaged and some lesions can be successfully removed with one treatment; others may require a few treatments.  

Shave Removal
Superficial non-cancerous skin lesions may be removed by a shave excision. This fast, safe, in-office procedure has been used for decades to successfully treat acrochordons (skin tags), seborrheic keratoses, cherry angiomas, sebaceous hyperplasia, and other raised skin growths. This technique may be used in cases where the lesion is too thick for other methods or where there is concern about the nature of the lesions as it allows for microscope examination of the removed tissue. Shave excision employs a sharp razor to remove the skin growth and is followed by treatment with a gentle, petroleum based ointment to encourage healing.

Incision and Extraction
This technique can be used to easily remove milia in adults. A tiny needle is employed to create an opening on the surface of the lesion. An instrument is used to express the contents of the growth. Healing is generally quick.