Cosmetic Minor Skin Surgery
At the Canadian Plastic Surgery Centre, minor plastic surgery procedures are commonly performed under local anesthesia to remove skin tags, moles, lumps, cysts and to revise scars.
Skin Tag Removal
Skin tags are small benign growths that can appear on any part of the body. They are typically found on the neck, axilla and groin areas and can become more common as you get older. Skin tags do not need to be removed or treated. However, if they get larger and more numerous, it can interfere with daily function or if they are in highly visible areas, many people chose to have them surgically removed.
Candidates for skin tag removal alone usually have one of the following:
A skin tag in a highly visible location like the face or neck.
A skin tag that is excessively large or long.
A skin tag that gets easily inflamed from normal movement or clothing rubbing against it.
Nevus/Nevi, also known as moles, beauty mark or birth marks, are benign pigmented growths in the skin that can appear anywhere in the body. These benign lesions typically do not need to be removed or treated. However, if there are changes in the lesions it is always best to have it inspected. You can read more about skin cancers here. Moles typically increase in size slowly as a patient ages and some individuals elect to remove them when they are in highly visible areas.
A cyst, also known as a sebaceous or epidermal cyst, are growths beneath your skin that are found most commonly on your back, neck, chest or abdomen. These benign cysts form as a result of clogging of sebaceous glands or ingrown hairs. If left untreated, cysts can become infected or burst, causing a lot of discomfort, inflammation and larger scars in these areas. Additionally, if cyst lining and contents are not completely removed, as in cases of infections or ruptures, the cysts have a high likelihood of recurrence.
Candidates for cyst excision are in overall good health and the cysts typically have any of the following traits:
Appear to be growing.
Are inflamed or infected.
Have ruptured causing cystic material to ooze out of skin or beneath the skin.
Are painful or uncomfortable.
A lipoma is a benign fatty growth that is typically found deep to the skin and can develop anywhere over the body. A lipoma, unlike just any fatty deposits, is typically encapsulated and feel like discrete small cysts or bumps. Lipomas do not need to be removed but they do increase in size over time. Many people elect to have their lipomas removed when they are in highly visible areas or if the lipoma gets sufficiently large and it interferes with their daily function.
Minor Skin Procedure
The removal of skin tags, moles, cysts and nevi are typically performed in the minor surgical unit under local anesthetics. These procedures are quick and relatively painless and require approximately 15-45 minutes depending on the size and number of lesions being removed. After the area is numbed with local anesthetics, a scalpel is used to excise the lesion and sac linings completely. This prevents recurrence of most lesions and the skin is then closed with dissolvable stitches. The only exception to this is when patient's have infected cysts. In those situations, the cysts is opened and drained completely, but the wound is packed rather than stitched closed. Infected cysts cannot be closed with sutures as the infection will not resolve and a new infected cyst pocket can reoccur. After infected cysts are drained, they require dressing changes to allow the cysts to heal in.
Recovery from a minor procedure fairly short. Typically patients can return to work the same day or the following after their procedure. The incisions should be kept clean and if there are sutures, patients need to come in for sutures removal 10-14 days after their procedure, depending on the size and location of the lesions removed. Patients can resume light exercise the day after your procedure and until your sutures are removed.
Post Op Instructions at a Glance
The area should be kept clean under the dressing for 48 hrs after which, the dressing should be removed and the incision should be cleaned with soap and water at least once a day.
Light dressings and/or Polysporin may be applied to the lesions.
Patients should avoid strenuous activities for about 24 hours for skin tag removal and for 1 week until sutures are removed to avoid breaking the sutures. Light exercises can be resumed in the meantime.
Patient should avoid soaking the incision in a pool of water (i.e. bathing, hot tubs and swimming pools) until after the sutures are removed.
There may be moderate pain and inflammation at the incision site and over-the-counter pain medications such as Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil) can be taken to treatment.
Antibiotics are sometimes given to the patients and should be taken as prescribed.
Scarring from this procedure is light, though darker skinned individuals may notice a slightly lighter skin area after the procedure.
To protect the scar from damage, you should avoid tanning or allowing the area to receive too much sun exposure and should liberally use sunscreen on the area for roughly a year.