|Cosmetic Procedures » Skin Lesion Removal|
Skin Lesion Removal Techniques
A broad array of techniques is available to remove skin lesions. The more superficial the lesion the simpler the treatment and recovery; the deeper the lesion, the more aggressive the treatment needed and the longer the recovery. All facial skin lesions, other than large cancerous lesions, require relatively simple treatment and have rapid recovery with inconspicuous healed sites.
Treatments in order of increasing aggressiveness:
Topical Products: include retinoids such as tretinoin, and Retin-A, bleaching agents such as hydroquinone and azalic acid, and antimetabolites such as Efudex (fluorouacil). These products work to alter the chemistry of the abnormal tissue to reverse the lesion process.
Electrocautery, Radiofrequency, and Liquid Nitrogen: have similar effects in removing superficial lesions such as skin tags, cherry angiomas, and actinic keratoses. These modalities break down the lesions so that they can be wiped off of the normal, underlying tissue. The surface heals rapidly in a similar manner to an abrasion.
Surgical Excision: is used for all deeper lesions to ensure that the entire lesion is removed. An incision is made around the lesion, the dissection is extended under the lesion to completely remove it, the wound edges are loosened and then sutured together. The face generally heals better than any other area of the body, so most scars are very thin and blend into the surrounding skin beautifully.
Harmless Facial Growths:
Spider Nevi -- have a dark red center with red streaks radiating outward in all directions. They are painlessly removed by cauterizing the central blood vessel.
The cost of removing any of these harmless spots -- considered cosmetic procedures -- is not covered by insurance.
Cancerous Facial Lesions Include:
This is a precancerous lesion. It is a scaly, crusty, rough lesion caused by sun exposure. They may be light or dark, tan, pink, red, a combination of these, or the same color as ones skin. They are also called solar keratosis, sun spots, or precancerous spots. They are also called "AK's" for short. They range in size from as small as a pinhead to more than an inch across.
Actinic keratosis can be the first step in the development of skin cancer, and, therefore, it is a precursor of cancer. About 10 to 15 percent of active lesions, which are redder and more tender than the rest, will progress to squamous cell carcinomas.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Sometimes called non-melanoma skin cancer. It usually appears as a small, fleshy bump or nodule. In the USA, 90% of skin cancers are this type. Basal cell carcinoma is easy to diagnose and is mostly easy to treat successfully. If left untreated it can spread to other parts of the body and can extend below the skin to the bone, causing significant local damage. People with basal cell carcinoma are at higher risk of developing other skin cancers.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is most commonly found among Caucasians. It very rarely occurs among dark-skinned individuals. People with light hair, light colored eyes, and fair complexions are much more likely to get it, compared to those with darker colored eyes, hair and complexions.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
It often appears as nodules on the skin. It is usually found on the rim of the ear, face, mouth and lips, but can also spread elsewhere in the body. It can also appear as red, scaly patches. It is generally found in the skin of Caucasian people, especially those with very fair skin. It is more aggressive than Basal Cell Carcinoma, but is still easy to treat successfully.
The cancer cells are the pigment cells of the skin, the melanocytes. Although it is extremely rare in teenagers and children, there have been cases. It is predominately found in adults. This is the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Fortunately, it is also the rarest. 75% of all skin cancer deaths are from malignant melanoma. It is most commonly found among fair-skinned people. However, people of all skin types can get it.
How is Malignant Melanoma Identified?
The First Signs of a Melanoma Could Be:
ABCDE Checklist for Identifying A Melanoma:
Doctors depend on overall pattern recognition and comparison, rather than specific analytic criteria, to distinguish melanoma lesions (malignant skin cancer) from harmless skin moles.
Who is at High Risk of Developing Malignant Melanoma?
If you have a lesion that changes size, shape or color, you should see a surgeon without delay.