Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
What is a skin tag and wart?
Skin tags: these will generally appear to be brown or the same colour as your skin. They will be small lesions that hang off your skin and appear somewhat similar to moles. These are completely harmless.
Warts: these are slightly similar to skin tags, but will have a rougher surface. Warts will be more solidly attached to the skin, instead of hanging off. Warts are contagious and can be spread across other areas of the body.
These may appear in prominent, noticeable places over your body, and therefore you may wish to have them removed.
Anyone who has a skin tag or wart and would like it removed – whether because it causes physical pain or just for aesthetic reasons – is considered to be an appropriate candidate.
Cryotherapy is a process that involves freezing off the skin tag or wart. Extreme cold will be applied to the skin lesion, which freezes the cells and halts blood supply. After the cryotherapy, a blister will form, which will eventually begin to scab before finally falling off. This whole process will take between 7 to 10 days.
This process is considered to be very popular as it can be performed quickly and has a high success rate. Cryotherapy will take about 5 to 10 minutes. This is a suitable method for those who are looking to remove multiple growths. During the procedure, you may experience some mild pain or discomfort as a result of the cold temperatures against your skin.
Surgeons at Centre for Surgery are qualified and trained in cryotherapy. It is important to ensure you undergo this procedure with a qualified surgeon, as surrounding skin may become damaged if the procedure is incorrectly performed.
Curettage and cautery
Curettage and cautery is used when a lesion is too big or has not responded to cryotherapy. This method involves using a curette, a sharp, spoon-like instrument, which will be used to scrape off the skin lesion. Next, the wound is cauterised, or sealed, through the application of heat.
You will receive a local anaesthetic prior to the procedure. Afterwards, the wound will be left open to allow for healing. You will notice the wound will have healed within two to three weeks.
As this is a non-surgical procedure, you will experience no downtime after the removal.
If you have curettage and cautery, you will be given a local anaesthetic, and you will be able to return home once the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off.
Non-surgical options for skin tags and warts include cryotherapy and curettage and cautery.
After a procedure, it is unlikely that a skin tag or wart will grow back. If cryotherapy is not successful, patients can then elect to undergo curettage and cautery.
Cryotherapy will not result in any scars, although patients will have a scab for 7-10 days. With curettage and cautery, you will have a wound that will be left open to heal, which should heal within two to three weeks.
Both curettage and cautery will be performed under local anaesthetic, so pain and discomfort will be minimised. Your skin may be somewhat tender for a few days after the treatment. Cryotherapy does not require a local anaesthetic and will not be sore after the procedure.
You can have treatment anywhere on your body.