This page will give you information about removing benign skin lesions. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.
What are skin lesions?
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
Surgery is the only reliable way to remove skin lesions but you may simply leave them alone.
What does the operation involve?
The operation usually takes 15 to 25 minutes.
When removing an epidermoid cyst, your surgeon will make an elliptical (oval) cut over the cyst and then cut out the cyst.
To remove a lipoma, your surgeon will make a straight cut on your skin directly over it. The lipoma is freed up from the tissues and removed.
A skin tag can simply be numbed with local anaesthetic and then removed.
When removing a mole, your surgeon will cut all the way around it using an elliptical cut.
What complications can happen?
- infection of the surgical site (wound)
- unsightly scarring
- wound breakdown, if your skin fails to heal
- a lipoma or an epidermoid cyst can come back
- damage to nerves
- you may need a larger operation
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home a short while after the operation.
You should be able to return to work the next day unless your work will place a strain on the stitches. It is unusual for these procedures to restrict any daily activities you carry out.
Skin lesions are common and can be treated by surgery.
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Last reviewed: September 2018