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
The PDQ editorial boards use a ranking system of levels of evidence to help the reader judge the strength of evidence linked to the reported results of a therapeutic strategy. For any given therapy, results of prevention and treatment studies can be ranked on each of the following two scales:
Strength of the study design.
Strength of the endpoints.
Together, the two rankings provide a measure of the overall level of evidence. Screening studies are ranked on strength of study design alone...
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.