Minor Surgeries
Atypical mole
Mole Excision
Moles, or nevi, can be different shapes, sizes, and colors. They are often round or oval shaped and may be flat, raised, smooth, or rough. In color, moles are often brown or black, but can be flesh colored, pink, and red. Either present at birth or acquired over time, moles may form as a result of sun exposure. Therefore, it is imperative to avoid staying in the sun for longer periods of time and to wear sunscreen when you are outside.

Most moles are harmless but some may be, or become, cancer. Moles that are asymmetrical, very dark or have darker centers, irregularly colored, larger than 6mm in diameter, or have indefinite borders should be checked by a doctor. If your mole gets larger, changes color, looks different than it normally does, or becomes painful, itchy, or swollen, these are definite warning signs.

Moles can easily be removed by excision (cutting). During surgery, the area to be treated will first be cleansed and numbed with anesthetic. A surgical knife, biopsy (skin sample) tool, or curette may be used in the removal process. Once your mole is removed, stitches may be used to close the treatment site. Then, the excised mole may be sent to a lab for tests.

Sebaceous cyst on the face
Sebaceous Cyst Removal
A sebaceous cyst is a closed sac, often mobile and occurring just beneath the skin, that contains a "pasty" or "cheesy" looking substance. A foul odor is often also present in the keratin (a protein) which fills sebaceous cysts.

Although sebaceous cysts are usually found on the face, neck, and trunk, they also many times occur in the genitalia of both women and men. They are often the result of swollen hair follicles or skin trauma. It's important not to touch or try to remove the substance inside to prevent tenderness, swelling, and infection.

Sebaceous cysts most often disappear on their own and are not dangerous. Occasionally, they may become inflamed and tender. Sometimes, sebaceous cysts grow so large that they interfere with your everyday life. When this happens, surgical removal may be necessary. Small inflamed cysts can often be treated by injection of steroid medications or with antibiotics. However, it's important to note that sebaceous cyst recurrence in not unusual.

Lipoma on the arm
Lipoma Removal
A lipoma is a benign tumor composed of fatty tissue. These are the most common form of soft tissue tumor. They are often located in the subcutaneous tissues of the head, neck, shoulders, and back. Many lipomas are small (under 1cm in diameter) but can enlarge to sizes greater than 6cm. Lipomas have been identified in all age groups but usually first appear between 40–60 years of age. These slow-growing tumors usually present as nonpainful, round, mobile masses with a characteristic soft, doughy feel.

The cause of lipomas is not yet known, but experts believe there is a hereditary link to their growth. Injuries, such as a blow to the body in the affected area, also appear to trigger their growth. Most lipomas are best left alone, but rapidly growing, lifestyle-inhibiting, or painful lipomas can be treated with a variety of procedures ranging from steroid injections to excision of the tumor. Surgical excision of lipomas often results in a cure.

Warts on the big toe
Wart Removal
Common warts are local growths in the skin that are caused by HPV infection. Although they are considered to be contagious, it is very common for just one family member to have them. In addition, they often affect just one part of the body, such as the hands or the feet, without spreading over time to other areas. Types of common warts include the following:
  • The familiar type of dome-shaped warts on the backs of fingers, toes, and knees
  • Plantar warts on the bottom of the foot
  • Mosaic warts, which are similar to plantar warts, but appear in clusters on the hands and feet
  • Flat ("plane") warts, which may arise on the face, legs, and other parts of the body, often in large numbers
  • Periungual warts around or under the nail
  • Filiform warts, which typically appear as a single long stalk, often on the face.
Removal by a physician or dermatologist is the most effective method for removing stubborn warts. We may use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart, a treatment called cryotherapy, which causes slight discomfort. To completely remove a wart, liquid nitrogen treatments may be needed, depending on the patient, just once or every 1–3 weeks for a total of 2–4 times. If no improvement is noted, another type of treatment will be recommended.

Ganglion cyst on the wrist
Ganglion Cyst Treatment
A ganglion cyst is a tumor or swelling on top of a joint or the covering of a tendon (tissue that connects muscle to bone). Inside the cyst is a sticky, clear, jelly-like material. Ganglion cysts most commonly occur on the back of the hand at the wrist joint, but can also be found on the palm side of the wrist, the base of the fingers on the palm, the fingertip, the outside of the knee and ankle, or the top of the foot. This type of cyst, ranging anywhere from 1–3cm in diameter, accounts for about half of all soft tissue tumors of the hand.

Most ganglion cysts cause some degree of pain, usually following acute or repetitive trauma, but up to 35% are without symptoms, except for appearance. The pain is usually nonstop, aching, and made worse by joint motion. When the cyst is connected to a tendon, you may feel a sense of weakness in the affected finger. Whether you have symptoms or not, your ganglion cyst can benefit from medical evaluation.

One possible treatment involves using a needle to remove the cyst's contents (aspiration) and injecting an anti-inflammatory steroid compound. However, if you compare aspiration/injection with surgical removal, cysts generally return less often after surgery. Surgical removal of the cyst is needed when the mass is painful, interferes with function (especially with your dominant hand), or causes numbness or tingling of the hand or fingers.

Abscess in the armpit
Abscess Incision / Abscess Drainage
An abscess is a pus-filled skin nodule, usually caused by a bacterial infection. It is typically painful, and it appears as a swollen area that is warm to the touch. The skin surrounding an abscess typically appears pink or red. Abscesses are often found in the soft tissue under the skin such as the armpit or the groin. However, they may develop in any organ, and are commonly found in the breast and gums.

Once an abscess has fully formed, it often does not respond to antibiotics. Even if the antibiotic does penetrate into the abscess, it does not function as well in that environment. Abscesses need to be drained via an incision (cut) if the pus does not resolve with treatment by antibiotics. This allows the pus to escape, the infection to be treated, and the abscess to heal.

Abscess drainage is a minor and common surgical procedure. A doctor will cut into the lining of an abscess, allowing the pus to escape. Once an abscess is opened, the pus drained, and the epithelial lining removed, the doctor will clean and irrigate the wound thoroughly with saline. Simple stitches may be needed to close the incision site, and sterile dressing is then applied. Healing is usually very rapid.

Joint aspiration
Joint Aspiration and Injection
A joint aspiration is a procedure whereby a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain fluid from the joint. Joint aspiration is used to obtain joint fluid for examination in the laboratory. Analysis of joint fluid can help to define causes of joint swelling or arthritis, such as infection, gout, and rheumatoid disease. Joint aspiration can also be helpful in relieving joint swelling and pain. Sometimes, cortisone medications are injected into the joint during the joint aspiration in order to rapidly relieve joint inflammation and further reduce symptoms.

The skin over the joint is first sterilized using a liquid. Local anesthetic is then used in the area of the joint. A needle with a syringe attached is inserted within the joint, and fluid is sucked back (aspirated) into the syringe. For certain conditions, the doctor will also inject medication into the joint after fluid removal. Joint injections are given to treat inflammatory joint conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, tendonitis, bursitis, and occasionally osteoarthritis.