Curettage and cautery



Curettage is a procedure in which the dermatology doctor/nurse scrapes off a skin lesion using a sharp blade called a curette.  Cautery is the method that is used to stop the bleeding and seal the wound.


What does it involve?

The doctor/nurse will explain to you why your skin lesion needs treatment and the  procedure involved. The person performing the procedure will inject some local anaesthetic into the area  surrounding the lesion to be treated (this causes a tingling discomfort which will last only a few moments).  This will make the skin go numb so no pain should be felt during the procedure.  You may feel a pushing sensation but this should not be painful. The skin lesion is then scraped off with a sharp ring blade (curette).  Bleeding is then stopped with either cautery or driclor.



  • To enable diagnoses and removal of skin lesion, with minimal scarring.
  • What happens to the lesion after it is removed?
  • The lesion will be sent to a pathology laboratory for analysis unless you are told otherwise



  • Scarring – It is impossible to cut or curette the skin without scarring in some way.  However, certain individuals sometimes have an abnormal response to the skin healing and as a result may gat larger, raised scars than usual.  This is known as keloid or hypertrophic scarring.  The risk is higher on the shoulders, upper back and chest, or if you have a family history of such scars.  This can be treated but the thickening may be permanent. Scars from curettage are usually flat and/or slightly depressed and white, they are a similar size and shape to that of the original skin lesion.  The doctor/nurse performing the procedure will however, endeavour to keep scarring to a minimum.
  • Infection – as with any procedure, there is a small risk of infection, the risks of which will be explained to you before and after surgery, and what to do if the wound becomes infected (read after care following surgery at the end of the this leaflet).8 800 1234