Health conditions

Skin lesions

What are skin lesions?

Skin lesions are lumps found on or just below your skin. Examples include:

  • epidermoid cysts
  • lipomata
  • skin tags
  • moles.

They are common and can be treated by surgery.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Surgery is the only reliable way to remove skin lesions but you may simply leave them alone.

What does the operation involve?

The operation usually takes 15 to 25 minutes.

When removing an epidermoid cyst, your surgeon will make an elliptical (oval) cut over the cyst and then cut out the cyst (see figure 1).

To remove a lipoma, your surgeon will make a straight cut on your skin directly over it. The lipoma is freed up from the tissues and removed.

A skin tag can simply be numbed with local anaesthetic and then removed.

When removing a mole, your surgeon will cut all the way around it using an elliptical cut.

What complications can happen?

General complications can include:

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • unsightly scarring
  • wound breakdown, if your skin fails to heal.

Specific complications can include:

  • a lipoma or an epidermoid cyst can come back
  • damage to nerves
  • you may need a more complex operation.

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home a short while after the operation and can return to work the next day, unless your work will place a strain on the stitches. It is unusual for these procedures to restrict any daily activities you carry out.

Where to get help

Last reviewed: 17-12-2018
Patient Safety & Clinical Quality
EIDO Healthcare Australia

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The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Department of Health Western Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.