Conditions Treated
Our Team
Patient Resources
Contact Us

Electrosurgery Treatments: Dermatology & Skin Health

Request a Visit
A group of surgeons working in an operating room.

At Dermatology & Skin Health, our locations have state-of-the-art facilities and a team of highly-experienced and qualified medical providers to treat a number of skin conditions. If you have diseased skin tissue or any benign and malignant skin lesions, we can provide you with a number of treatment options to have these removed as safely as possible. 

For many patients, electrosurgery may be the recommended option. Best for small superficial lesions like skin tags and angiomas, electrosurgery destroys skin tissue through minimally invasive means. By causing tissue damage, this procedure can get rid of skin lesions and other skin tissue that can be replaced with newer and healthier skin cells. 

What is Electrosurgery?

Electrosurgery is a dermatological procedure where different forms of electrical currents are used to destroy skin tissue and, in the process, remove benign and malignant lesions, control bleeding, and excise skin tissue. 

During the process, the electric current – which can come in the form of either a high-frequency wave of electrosurgery or electrocautery – can dehydrate, damage, and vaporize damaged skin tissue. This will prevent any malignant skin condition from spreading while also allowing your body to produce new skin cells. 

At Dermatology & Skin Health in Dover, Newington & Londonderry, NH and Peabody, MA, we use electrosurgery to treat patients with basal cell carcinoma and other qualified skin conditions. Electrosurgery may also be used after curettage, which is the process of scraping the 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?

Electrosurgery can be used in either destroying abnormal skin growths or stopping bleeding during surgical procedures. During an electrosurgical procedure, a high frequency, alternating high voltage electric current ranging from 200 to 10,000 volts can be used on the skin through one or more electrodes. The electric energy will convert into thermal energy, which can then cause tissue heating and break down the targeted skin tissue. 

Modern, high-frequency electrosurgical devices transfer electrical energy to human tissue with a treatment electrode that remains cool. Today, the average electrosurgical unit can work at frequencies just below the AM radio frequency band. The electrical resistance of biological tissue helps to convert electrical energy into molecular energy. This modifies the molecular structure of intracellular and extracellular proteins, which can cause the target tissue to coagulate and dry up. Essentially, by raising intracellular temperatures, instantaneous cell death can occur and there’s a possibility of cancer being removed.

Schedule Your Consultation Now at Dermatology & Skin Health

At Dermatology & Skin Health, we offer world-class services done by award-winning doctors who have proven their knowledge and skills in this field. Start your journey towards achieving your best skin by contacting us today.

Electrosurgery can be used on a number of skin conditions, including:

Basal cell carcinoma

One of the most common forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma is usually the result of frequent sun exposure. Although rarely fatal, it can progress and cause skin tissue disfigurement. Compared to other forms of skin cancer, this can be effectively treated with electrosurgery. 

Patients undergoing electrosurgery will be subjected to local anesthesia. During the procedure, the tissue with basal cell carcinoma will be scraped out with a dermal curette to remove the abnormal tissue. 

Your surgeon will scrape around the area to ensure that all diseased skin tissue is removed. The base of the skin lesion will then be subjected to electrosurgery to destroy the tissue until only normal tissue remains. 

Pyogenic granuloma 

This benign skin condition can be identified by the small, raised, and red bumps on one area of the skin. Although non-cancerous, it can lead to frequent bleeding and anemia. While it can be removed surgically and through laser treatments, electrosurgical treatment is ideal for pyogenic granulomas that have vascular and benign tumors. 

Patients seeking electrotherapy treatment for their pyogenic granuloma will first be subjected to local anesthesia to minimize the pain and discomfort. Then, your surgeon will either cut off the bumps and other elevated portions of the skin lesions or have them removed through an electric current. 

They can then use an electrode to cauterize the skin to prevent excess bleeding before proceeding with electrocoagulation. This process will destroy the whole pyogenic granuloma and stop the bleeding.

Types of Electrosurgery

Electrosurgery is a versatile procedure as it can be used in different ways to treat a variety of skin conditions. Prior to your treatment, feel free to ask your medical provider about electrosurgery to understand the process of your treatment and how electric currents will be used to treat your skin conditions. Some of the ways electrosurgery is used include: 

Electrodesiccation and fulguration

Through electrodesiccation or monopolar electrosurgery, an active electrode can touch the outer area of your skin or be inserted into your skin to target specific skin tissue to destroy by heating up skin cells in a lateral thermal spread. This process is often used to treat skin conditions like spider veins and spider angiomas.

Fulguration is similar to monopolar electrosurgery but is non-invasive and doesn’t touch the skin. The electrode is held close to the outer skin layer just enough for the electrical current to create superficial damaged tissue within the outermost layer. This is the usual treatment for shallow epidermal lesions and most cases of basal cell carcinoma.


Electrocoagulation is used for tissue coagulation clotting minor small blood vessels that are narrower than 3 mm in diameter during surgical procedures. A narrow metallic sphere at the end of an active electrode can be used to coagulate small blood vessels and prevent further bleeding through direct or indirect electric currents and create coagulate tissue. 

This is often used in dermatological procedures that involve venous conditions and skin conditions like pyogenic granuloma. 


Electrosection is the use of an active electrode to cut tissue during a surgical procedure. A needle electrode, wire look, or any sharp tip that can harness electrical energy to cut open tissue while minimizing the bleeding by cauterizing the damaged blood vessels. 

Following treatment, the wounded skin tissue can be sutured. This is often used for excisional biopsies, a dermatological procedure where both diseased skin and the healthy skin around it are removed. 


Electrocautery, also known as bipolar electrosurgery, uses a second electrode tip or bipolar forceps to act as resistance against electric energy. During treatment, it’s the second electrode that acts as electrical resistance against the active electrode rather than skin tissue. As a result, it’s the second electrode that absorbs the thermal energy and causes it to burn tissue. 

Schedule Your Consultation Now at
Dermatology & Skin Health

At Dermatology & Skin Health, our excellent dermatology services are guaranteed to be safe and effective, performed by the top doctors in their respective fields. Treat your skin problems by contacting us today.


Who Can Get Electrosurgery?

Prior to getting electrosurgery, you’ll first have to schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists. If you have findings from a self-exam skin check or notice an abnormal skin condition, you should have these lesions checked by one of our specialists. 

They may recommend laboratory exams and additional tests like a biopsy. This can confirm if your skin condition is benign or malignant, as well as rule out other potential skin diseases. 

Based on the findings, your dermatologist can diagnose your condition and provide you with treatment options. Dermatology & Skin Health is fully-equipped with electrosurgical units to provide world-class treatment that can safely treat different types of skin conditions. You can rest assured that all our medical professionals in all our locations are highly-qualified to conduct electrosurgery for a safe and successful skin lesion removal. 

Ideally, electrosurgery is used for patients with benign and malignant lesions, as well as those who can benefit from the precise handling of electrosurgical equipment. Most patients qualified for electrosurgery are in generally good health and have small superficial lesions that can be treated through non-invasive or minimally-invasive means. 

Some patients may not be qualified for electrosurgery. For instance, patients with implanted energy devices or cardiac devices like pacemakers may not be allowed to undergo electrosurgery. The electric current of an active electrode could cause their devices to malfunction. There’s also the risk of surgical smoke or surgical fire from electrosurgery, so some patients may not be a safe candidate for this treatment. 

Some providers may consider using electrosurgery depending on the circumstances and severity of your skin condition, but depending on factors like your health and the risks involved, they may also recommend alternative treatments. 

What Can I Expect From The Results?

Patients can expect minor pain and discomfort following your treatment, but this can be managed at home. Depending on the extent of the electrosurgical procedure and the electrosurgical device used, it can take between 3 to 6 weeks to recover. 

During this time, it’s important to keep the treated area clean and dry. Over time, a scab will form over the area. It’s best to avoid touching and picking at the area as your body will replace the removed damaged tissue with newer and healthier skin cells. 

Treatment with curettage and electrosurgery for skin cancer has an impressive cure rate for basal cell carcinoma that’s less than .4 inches wide. For basal cell carcinoma larger than .8 inches, the cure rate is also not too far behind. The procedure has promising effects on treating new cancers, but it can also be used on recurrent skin cancers where scar tissue has developed.

Schedule Your Consultation Now at Dermatology & Skin Health

At Dermatology & Skin Health, we offer world-class services done by award-winning doctors who have proven their knowledge and skills in this field. Start your journey towards achieving your best skin by contacting us today.

Schedule a Consultation in Seacoast, NH or North Shore, MA

If you have skin lesions that you'd like to address, or if you especially feel that you may have basal cell carcinoma, we encourage you to request a consultation at one of our 4 locations: Dover, Newington & Londonderry, NH, and Peabody, MA. If you live in the Seacoast region or the North Shore, electrosurgery at Dermatology & Skin Health may be an option for you. Our dermatologists can examine your skin to diagnose potential skin conditions that can benefit from electrosurgical treatment. 

During your initial skin check, we will thoroughly diagnose your skin condition and schedule an effective treatment plan immediately. Please call (603) 742-5556 (Dover & Newington), (978) 525-0100 (Peabody), (603) 965-3551 (Londonderry), (603) 742-5556 (Bedford), or request your consultation through our website to get started.