What is electrosurgery?
Electrosurgery is a procedure in which a high-frequency (radio frequency) electrical current is used to remove benign and malignant lesions, control bleeding and excise skin tissue. At Dermatology & Skin Health in Dover & Newington, NH and Peabody, MA, we use electrosurgery to treat patients with basal cell carcinoma. Electrosurgery may also be used after curettage. Curettage is the process of scraping skin with a spoon-shaped instrument (curette) to remove skin tissue. In these cases, electrosurgery is used to control the bleeding and remove any remaining cancer cells.
How does electrosurgery work?
Modern, high-frequency electrosurgical devices transfer electrical energy to human tissue with a treatment electrode that remains cool. Today, most electrosurgical units work at frequencies just below the AM radio frequency band. The electrical resistance of human tissue helps to convert electrical energy into molecular energy. This modifies the molecular structure of intracellular and extracellular proteins, causing them to coagulate and dry up.* Essentially, by raising intracellular temperatures, instantaneous cell death occurs and the cancer is removed.*
What can I expect from the results?
Treatment with curettage and electrosurgery for skin cancer has a near perfect cure rate for basal cell carcinoma that is less than .4 inches wide.* For basal cell carcinoma larger than .8 inches, the cure rate is almost as impressive.* The procedure is more effective on new cancers and less effective on recurrent skin cancers where scar tissue has developed.* Following the procedure, your recovery may take 3-6 weeks, though this will largely depend on the extent of the surgery. It is important to keep your wound clean and dry. Eventually, a scab will form over the area.
Schedule a consultation in Seacoast, NH or North Shore, MA
If you have skin lesions that you’d like to address, or if you feel that you may have basal cell carcinoma, we encourage you to request a consultation at one of our three locations: Dover & Newington, NH or Peabody, MA. If you live in the Seacoast region or the North Shore, electrosurgery at Dermatology & Skin Health may be an option for you. During your initial skin check, we will diagnose your skin condition and schedule out an effective treatment plan. Please call (603) 742-5556 (Dover & Newington) or (978) 525-0100 (Peabody), or request your consultation on our website to get started.