Electrodesiccation and Curettage (ED&C) is a surgical procedure used for decades to remove 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 them 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 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.