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With skin cancer being the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States, it’s important to know your treatment options. At Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology, we offer several effective skin cancer treatments, including curettage.
Keep reading to learn more about curettage as a skin cancer treatment, or get in touch with our team if you have any additional questions about skin health.
What is Curettage?
Curettage is a minimally-invasive technique used to remove small cancerous or non-cancerous lesions. The lesion, or growth, is scraped off with a curette (a circular or oval-shaped instrument) and an electrocautery needle produces burning heat, which destroys any residual malignant cells and controls bleeding through cauterization. To minimize discomfort, the patient is given anesthesia before the procedure.
In medical procedures, curettage means the removal of tissue or growth by scooping or scraping with a curette tool.
Curettage removes skin cancer by scraping away cancerous cells and destroying the remaining cells through the use of electrodesiccation (burning the area with an electric needle). In most cases, dermatologists perform curettage in many layers to remove the lesion. You can expect three cycles of curettage and electrodesiccation.
This type of skin cancer treatment aims to completely eliminate any cancerous cells and is highly effective, with cure rates up to 95%.
Curettage is used primarily for small lesions or growths. This type of skin cancer treatment is not recommended for high-risk sites or aggressive forms of skin cancer. Similar to cryosurgery, curettage has the best cure rate for superficial basal cell or squamous carcinomas.
Curettage is most often performed on the trunk of the body. This type of treatment is not recommended for difficult sites, such as the eyelids, genitalia, lips and ears, or any cosmetically sensitive sites, as the procedure leaves a sizable, hypopigmented scar.
In most cases, patients can go home the same day as treatment. The procedure wound usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks to heal and leaves a scar, which is typically flat and round.