Bumps and growths on and under the skin may arise and disappear quickly or persist for an uncomfortable amount of time. Depending on the appearance and history of the lesion, your dermatologist may choose to watch, treat, or biopsy the area.
Seborrheic keratoses (“SKs”) are harmless rough, raised lesions that usually occur on sun-exposed skin. Although they do not represent a serious condition, SKs can often be irritating to the patient and can be treated in the office with a freezing spray to make them thinner and less symptomatic.
Common warts are thick, itchy, rough bumps caused by a virus in the skin that can last for years. Treatment often involves thinning the warts with a small blade and/or application of topical keratolytics such as salicylic acid. This is done in conjunction with in-office treatments such as application of a freezing spray (liquid nitrogen) or injection of an immune stimulating medication.
Molluscum Contagiosum is another virally-induced skin condition that presents as small blister-like bumps often on children and young adults. These lesions are contagious and easily spread so prompt treatment is very important. Depending upon the age of the patient and the location of the lesions, different topical, surgical or oral modalities may be recommended by your dermatologist.
Cysts are firm bumps that occur deep in the skin and may fluctuate in size. Occasionally they become red and painful and may need to be drained to relieve the symptoms. The only means to truly eliminate a cyst is surgical removal. This procedure can usually be performed in the office with the patient awake and only the involved area numbed.
Other types of bumps may be concerning for more harmful processes, and the dermatologist may recommend removing them for microscopic evaluation at a laboratory. If this is the case, the risks and benefits of the procedure will be discussed with the patient, then the lesion will be numbed with a shot directly in the area. The provider will them take either a small flat blade or a round blade and remove the lesion. Depending on the remaining skin defect, stitches may be necessary to allow the wound to heal properly.