Curettage and desiccation
Curettage and desiccation (C&D) is a surgical procedure used to remove specific superficial cutaneous growths such as skin cancers, pre-cancers, or other benign skin lesions. It is a very quick, safe, and effective procedure with minimal down time afterwards.
How is This Procedure Performed?
After cleansing the skin, local anesthesia is injected in to the area. A curette, which is a round blade-like instrument, is used to carefully “scrape off” the cancerous cells. The process is repeated to ensure that all abnormal cells are gone. Any bleeding is stopped with aluminum chloride or electrodessication.
When is This Procedure Effective?
In the broadest sense, the ED & C procedure is more of a preventative treatment, rather than an actual elimination procedure. If abnormal cells are found in non-crucial areas of the skin, the ED & C procedure can be effectively implemented. However, if cancerous cells are present in deep layers of skin, this surgical procedure will likely not be effective.
What are the possible side effects of curettage and desiccation?
Complications are exceptionally rare. After the procedure, there will be a circular superficial wound. It will heal in 1-4 weeks, leaving a red patch that fades to a faint white scar. Thickening or itching of the scar may occur after the healing process. Both can be treated effectively with intralesional corticosteroid injections. Infection is uncommon but can occur with any surgical procedure. It is important to follow the wound care instructions.