Curettage and Cautery

What is curettage and cautery?

In this technique, the skin is anaesthetised and the lesion is carefully scraped (curetted) away.  The skin is then usually heated with a cautery to seal any bleeding points.  The resultant wound is like a medium to deep graze and heals as such.  No sutures are required, however daily washing and replacing a small bandage is necessary in order to minimise the risk of adverse scarring

Which skin cancers and patients are best suited to curettage and cautery treatment?

Curettage and cautery is a technique used for treating mostly superficial and low-grade skin cancers. Examples include superficial BCC’s and lesions of Bowen’s disease (superficial SCC).  Certain body sites heal very well after curettage and others not as well. For example the legs are typically slow to heal after this treatment.  Because this techniques avoids the need for sutures it may be used in areas where sutures may not heal well, such as the back.   It is a quick and relatively inexpensive treatment and these factors are sometimes an important factor.

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