The skin is your bodies largest organ. It provides protection for the other organs and is very tough and durable. However, there are many issues that can arise from the skin or the layer of tissue just under the skin. They range from benign moles to invasive skin cancers.
At Southwest General Surgery we see a lot of skin conditions and depending on the size and location many of them can be addressed in the clinic under a local anesthetic. The information below is general and every patient is different. We would be happy to talk about your specific case and discuss the appropriate work-up and treatment of your issue.
The terms mole and nevus are often used interchangeably. They are pigments parts of the skin that can either be raised or flat. These are the things that your doctor pays special attention too when examining your skin. He or she is looking for asymmetry, irregular coloring, size, and shape. Anything suspicious should be considered for biopsy. The biopsy can usually be performed under a local anesthetic and the lesion is sent to a pathologist to look at under a microscope to rule out cancer.
Not all moles are concerning for cancerous and sometimes people just want them removed for cosmetic reasons. Again most of these can be done in office under a local anesthetic.
Scars are an inevitable side effect of having an operation. Depending on the operation, some scars are bigger than others. Also, depending on the way the incision healed some scars look better than others. The idea of scar revision is to take a scar from an injury or operation that did not heal well and create a better looking scar by removing the scar tissues and bringing the skin edges back together. A scar is still present, but ideally it more cosmetically pleasing.
At Southwest General Surgery the scars that we see most commonly are from previous abdominal operations. The size of the scar dictates whether it is something we can do under local in the office or whether it is something we can do as an outpatient operation at the hospital.
There are many types of cysts and nodules that arise from the dermis. The most common is the epidermal inclusion cyst or sebaceous cyst. They start as firm, round nodules under the skin that tend to get larger with time. Even if they do not enlarge, they can cause problems by getting infected.
We have a lot of patients at Southwest General Surgery who have had issues with infection of these cysts or want them removed because they drain or cause discomfort. Most skin cysts and nodules can be removed in the office under local anesthetic.
Lipomas are subcutaneous collections of normal fat that grow in an abnormal way. The lipomas can grow quite large and cause discomfort or pain when pressed on. For unknown reasons people who have lipomas tend to have more than one. Not all lipomas need to be removed, however, if they are causing discomfort or have grown to a size that they are cosmetically displeasing they can be surgically removed.
Smaller lipomas can be removed in the office under local a anesthetic. However, larger lipomas, lipomas around the head and neck, and if multiple small lipomas are going to removed at one time, we may recommend it be done at the hospital.