Curettage is a common skin cancer treatment that involves scraping off abnormal lesions with a sharp, oval-shaped instrument called a curette. Following the curettage, a dermatologist will use electrocautery to burn away the residual abnormal cells.

Curettage Explained

Curettage is a medical procedure that involves the use of a curette, a spoon-shaped instrument with a sharp edge, for the removal or biopsy of tissue. Curettage is often employed to address various skin conditions. The process typically entails scraping or scooping out tissue from the skin, serving both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

It may be used to remove benign growths such as warts or cysts or as part of a biopsy procedure to investigate suspicious or potentially cancerous skin lesions. The procedure is considered minimally invasive and is commonly performed on an outpatient basis. Dermatologists utilize curettage as a versatile tool for both diagnosing and treating a range of skin issues.

Benefits of Curettage

  • Benign Lesion Removal: Effectively removes benign skin issues like warts and cysts for cosmetic improvement.
  • Diagnostic Tool: Provides a sample for accurate diagnosis, aiding in identifying skin conditions.
  • Skin Cancer Treatment: Minimally invasive option for superficial skin cancers, offering simplicity and effectiveness resulting in minimal scarring.
  • Outpatient Convenience: Typically performed on an outpatient basis, curettage allows for a swift return home with minimal downtime.

How a Board-certified Dermatologist Can Help?

Dermatologists are skilled in utilizing curettage for various skin conditions. They diagnose and treat benign growths like warts and cysts, employing curettage for removal when necessary.

In cases of suspicious or potentially cancerous lesions, dermatologists may perform curettage as part of a biopsy procedure, providing a sample for laboratory analysis. Additionally, curettage can be employed as a treatment option for certain superficial skin cancers.

What to Expect at Your Curettage Appointment

At your curettage appointment, your dermatologist will begin with a consultation and examination to assess the skin lesion and determine the suitability of Curettage. They will thoroughly explain the procedure, including potential benefits and associated risks, and provide informed consent. If necessary, a topical anesthetic may be applied for comfort.

The Curettage process involves using a spoon-shaped instrument to scrape away the targeted skin lesion, with attention to complete removal. After the procedure, wound care instructions and any necessary dressing will be provided. You'll receive post-treatment guidelines, including activities to avoid and skincare routines.

How to Prepare for a Curettage

To prepare for your curettage appointment, attend a consultation with your dermatologist, follow any pre-procedure instructions, and inform them of allergies or medications. Wear comfortable clothing, especially if the lesion is in an accessible area. If a topical anesthetic is used, inquire about pre-application instructions. Use the consultation to ask questions and address concerns.

Planning for Recovery after Curettage

After the curettage procedure, your provider will put a dressing on the area. It’s important that this dressing stays on for 24 hours following the procedure and that it does not get wet. 

After 24 hours, it’s time to change the dressing. First, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Then, remove the old dressing and gently wash the site with soap and warm water. It’s crucial that you do not scrub or scratch the site. Next, pat the area dry, cover it with a thick ointment, and apply a bandage.

During your curettage recovery period, make sure to not submerge the area until the site is completely healed. Furthermore, avoid taking blood thinners, as the area may occasionally bleed after you leave the clinic.

Curettage FAQs

Curettage means the removal of tissue or growth by scooping or scraping with a curette tool. This special technique is typically used to remove cancerous and non-cancerous lesions.

Anesthesia is administered before the procedure to minimize/avoid any pain and discomfort. 

In addition to superficial skin cancers, curettage is also occasionally used to treat actinic keratoses, seborrheic keratoses, and warts.