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General Surgery

Skin Lesions

Lipomas and sebaceous cysts are the most common conditions referred for surgical excision by a general surgeon.


Lipomas – These are benign lumps made of fatty cells occurring in around 1 % of the population. They can appear anywhere on the body and are usually painless. Cancerous change in these growths is rare. They are removed if they cause symptoms, if there are multiple lesions or if there is a change in size or appearance.

Sebaceous Cysts – These are benign cysts of the skin, which can become infected. Infection causes them to enlarge and become very painful. They most commonly occur on the scalp or back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Both these lesions can usually be removed under a local anaesthetic. The skin around the area is injected to make it numb. The lesion can then be removed without pain. The incision is then closed with dissolvable sutures and a waterproof dressing applied. The dressings can usually be removed after 3 days.

Occasionally larger lesions will require a general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will discuss this with you.

The risks of the procedure are minimal. Wound infections are uncommon. Larger lesions can collect fluid in the space left behind.

A clinic appointment is required 1-2 weeks after the procedure to discuss the result of the specimen after a pathologist has assessed it. The wound will also be inspected and any concerns addressed.

Yes, but it is uncommon for the lesions to return.

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