Basal Cell Cancer – Electrodessication and Curettage

January 3rd, 2011

Electrodessication and Curettage is a treatment method for non-aggressive small Basal Cell Cancers that I use in both my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  Skin cancer cells are never as strong and cohesive as normal non-malignant skin cells, thus allowing Electrodessication and Curettage to be a viable treatment method that spares normal skin and removes the skin cancer.  Electrodessication and Curettage is limited to the treatment of Basal Cell Cancers and Squamous Cell Cancers and is never used for Melanomas.  The area to be treated is anesthetized with a local anesthetic such as lideocaine.  A curette is “scraped” across the skin cancer and normal skin.  Only the skin cancer is destroyed and normal skin stays intact.  Once no more cancer is being removed with the curette, a Hyfrecator instrument is used to Electrodessicate the curetted area.  Electrodessication destroys any remaining cancer cells and cauterizes the wound.  No tissue is sent to pathology.  The treated area appears like a circular scab that can resemble a cigar burn.  It takes approximately 2-3 weeks for this wound to heal and once healed a small white circular scar persists.  The cure rate for appropriately selected small non-aggressive Basal Cell Cancers is between 90-95% depending on the technique of the surgeon.