What is skin lesion treatment or removal?

Skin Lesion Treatment or Removal
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Skin lesion removal in children: Overview

Skin lesion removal is a procedure or surgery to remove growths on your child's skin. A skin lesion may be removed because it is too big, bothersome, or uncomfortable. Or a lesion may be removed because it could be cancerous or precancerous.

Often the doctor can remove simple skin lesions during a routine visit. In some cases, the doctor may remove the lesion in an operating room. This depends on the size and type of lesion. The doctor can remove a skin lesion in many ways. These include:


The doctor cuts out the entire lesion and, often, some of the area around it.


The doctor uses a very cold liquid or special tool to freeze and destroy skin cells.


The doctor uses a special tool to scrape away parts of the lesion.


The doctor uses a device that gives off an electrical current to destroy, burn, or cut out skin cells.

Laser surgery.

The doctor uses a device that gives off laser light to destroy skin lesions.

Mohs' micrographic surgery.

The doctor removes tissue a little bit at a time while checking to make sure that any cancer is gone.

After it is removed, the tissue may be checked under a microscope to see what the lesion is.

Depending on your child's age and the procedure they need, your child may be awake in the doctor's office or may need to be asleep in the operating room. The doctor may give your child medicine to numb the area. The doctor may use stitches to close the wound. Your child will have a scar that fades with time.

Most of these procedures take about 5 to 20 minutes. Sometimes the more complicated procedures, such as Mohs' micrographic surgery, can take a few hours. Most children can go back to their normal routine on the same day of the procedure.

How can you care for your child after skin lesion removal?


  • For the first few days, try to help your child not to bump or knock the wound.
  • Depending on where the wound is, your child may need to avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks after the procedure or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • If your child wears makeup and had a lesion removed from the face, your child should not use makeup near the wound until the stitches are taken out.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for your child to shower, bathe, or swim.


  • Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart any medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
  • Give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not give your child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.

Incision care

  • If your doctor told you how to care for your child's incision, follow your doctor's instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • Keep the wound bandaged and dry for the first day.
    • After the first 24 to 48 hours, wash around the wound with clean water 2 times a day. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • If your child has stitches, you may get other instructions. Your child will have to return to have the stitches removed.
  • If a scab forms, do not pull it off. Let it fall off on its own. Wounds heal faster if no scab forms. Washing the area every day and using the petroleum jelly will help prevent a scab from forming.
  • If the wound bleeds, put direct pressure on it with a clean cloth until the bleeding stops.
  • If your child had a growth "frozen" off, your child may get a blister. Do not break it. Let it dry up on its own. It is common for the blister to fill with blood. You do not need to do anything about this, but if your child says that it is painful, call your doctor.
  • Protect your child's skin from the sun. Make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply it several times a day.

How do you prepare for a skin lesion removal?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • If you are having your skin lesion removed in a hospital or surgery center, be sure to have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.

After skin lesion removal: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the wound.
    • Pus draining from the wound.
    • A fever.
  • You have bleeding that won't stop.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have loose stitches.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

After your child's skin lesion removal: Overview

Skin lesion removal is a procedure or surgery to remove growths on the skin. There are many ways the doctor could have done this.

After the procedure, your child should not have much pain. But some soreness, swelling, or bruising is normal. The doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicines to help with any discomfort. Most children can return to their normal routine the same day of their procedure.

How quickly the wound heals depends on the size of the wound and the type of procedure your child had. Most wounds take 1 to 3 weeks to heal. If your child had laser surgery, the skin may change color and then slowly return to its normal color.

Your child may need only a bandage. Or your child may need stitches. If your child has stitches, the doctor will probably remove them 5 to 14 days later. If your child has the type of stitches that dissolve, they don't have to be removed. They will disappear on their own.

What happens on the day of your skin lesion removal?

  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.

At the hospital, clinic, or doctor's office

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • If you are having your skin lesion removed in a hospital or surgery center, you will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
  • You will probably go home right away, or within 1 or 2 hours.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.