Electrodesiccation and Curettage (ED&C)

Electrodesiccation and Curettage

Electrodesiccation and Curettage (ED&C) is a surgical procedure used for decades to removal certain skin lesions such as warts, angiomas, actinic keratosis, basal cell skin cancers and squamous cell skin cancers. First a small injection of local anesthetic is placed. The surgeon then uses a curette to remove the abnormal cells by scraping down to a layer of uninvolved tissue. Finally, desiccation (electrosurgery) is performed with a small, metal instrument used to widen the margin and cauterize the wound to minimize bleeding. The wound is left to heal without sutures and typically heals over several weeks.

When the procedure is used to remove the cancer cells it is most suitable in non-crucial areas such as the trunk and extremities where small scars would less noticeable. If the cancer has advanced into deeper layers of the skin or when there are recurrent lesions, ED&C is less effective. For patients with complex medical histories, frail or elderly individuals or where surgical excision is not desired, ED&C is an alternative option. Follow up evaluations are required after treatment because of the possibility of recurrence if all the abnormal cells are not destroyed.

Pre-operative and post-operative instructions

No pre-operative precautions are required. Please advise your physician prior to the procedure if you have an implanted cardiac pacemaker or defibrillator. Continue all of your prescribed medications including blood thinners. You may remove the bandage in 24 hours and wash the site with a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil or soap and water.
Change the dressing twice daily and keep moist with Aquaphor healing ointment. Healing times varies based on location, depth and size of wound.