Curettage and Electrosurgery for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
Curettage is the process of scraping skin with a spoon-shaped
instrument (curette) to remove skin tissue. Electrosurgery is the burning of skin
tissue with an electric current that runs through a metal instrument or needle.
Electrosurgery may be done after curettage to control bleeding and destroy any
remaining cancer cells. The wound is then covered with an antibiotic
The skin is numbed with a
local anesthetic before the procedure. Curettage and
electrosurgery may be repeated once or twice or may be combined with other
procedures, such as
Incidence and Mortality
An estimated 12,200 new cervical cancers and 4,210 cervical cancer deaths will occur in the United States in 2010. An additional 1,250,000 women will be diagnosed with precancers annually by cytology using the Papanicolaou (Pap) smear. A continuum of pathologic changes may be diagnosed, ranging from atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance to low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL) to high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL) to invasive...
Treatment with curettage and electrosurgery for skin cancer has
a cure rate of nearly 99 out of 100 for basal cell cancer that is less than 1 cm (0.4 in.) wide. The cure rate is about 84 out of 100 if the cancer is larger than 2 cm (0.8 in.) wide.1 This procedure is
most effective on new skin cancers. It is less successful for recurrent skin
cancers where scar tissue has developed.
Risks of using curettage and electrosurgery for skin cancer
Skin changes, such as scarred or tight skin,
slightly indented or raised skin, or change in skin color to red or
of skin cancer.
What To Think About
Curettage and electrosurgery is a common treatment method for a
basal cell carcinoma less than
5 mm (0.2 in.) in diameter.