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Dermatology Procedures
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SHAVE BIOPSY (or "tangential excision") slices a surface growth off using a blade. A "curette" does a similar task with a special scraping tool. These are often done to remove a small growth and confirm its nature at the same time. Learn more about Biopsy.

PUNCH BIOPSY is typically used by dermatologists to sample skin rashes and small growths. After a local anesthetic is injected, a biopsy punch, which is basically a small (1 to 4 mm diameter) version of a cookie cutter, is used to cut out a cylindrical piece of skin. The hole may be closed with a suture and heals with minimal scarring. Learn more about Biopsy.

GRENZ RAYS are a form of very mild radiation. Grenz ray treatments should not be confused with 'superficial radiation therapy' or 'superficial X-Ray' which were used for everything from acne to eczema back 30 to 40 years ago, and are still used in the treatment of malignant skin cancers today. Learn more about Grenz Rays Therapy.

UVB PHOTOTHERAPY is a treatment for skin eruptions using artificial ultraviolet light. The initials UVB stand for the type B ultraviolet, the part of sunlight that gives one sunburn. Carefully controlled, it is an extremely effective tool for significant skin disease. Learn more about UVB Phototherapy.

PUVA is a combination of psoralen (P) and long-wave ultraviolet radiation (UVA) that is used to treat several severe skin conditions. Psoralen is a drug that makes the skin disease more sensitive to ultraviolet light. This allows the deeply penetrating UVA band of light to work on the skin. Learn more about PUVA Phototherapy.

ELECTRODESICCATION AND CURETTAGE (ED&C) Scraping or burning-off skin growths (also known as electrodesiccation and curettage) can be used for less serious skin cancers, pre-cancers and benign growths. A local anesthetic is injected, and then the abnormal tissue is scraped off with a special tool. The area is then cauterized until bleeding stops. This may be repeated if the growth is cancerous. The wound will need to be dressed until it heals, and it usually leaves a small white mark. Learn more about Electrodesiccation and Curettage.

INTRALESIONAL INJECTIONS are the direct placement of a medication into a problem skin area through a very fine needle. Most often, a dilute solution of triamcinalone (Kenalog) is used. Acne cysts, psoriasis and chronic forms of eczema are treated this way. If too much medication is used, a white spot or dent develops, but usually eventually goes away. Learn more about Intralesional Injections.

CRYOSURGERY (CRYOTHERAPY) is used frequently by dermatologist to treat many skin problems. Liquid nitrogen is sprayed on to the area of skin freezing it. Light freezing causes a peeling, moderate freezing a blistering and hard freezing a scabbing. It is used for acne, scars, growths and some skin cancers. Older dermatologists still use a swab to apply it, but the result is the same. Learn more about Cryosurgery.

ACNE SURGERY is the removing of acne lesions, usually by opening up comedones (blackheads) and pimples by using a needle or small pointed blade and expressing the lesions with an extractor.

 

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The medical information provided in this site is for educational purposes only and is the property of the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice and shall not create a physician - patient relationship. If you have a specific question or concern about a skin lesion or disease, please consult a dermatologist. Any use, re-creation, dissemination, forwarding or copying of this information is strictly prohibited unless expressed written permission is given by the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. 

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