What Are the Treatments for Seborrheic Keratosis?

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What Are the Treatments for Seborrheic Keratosis?
What Are the Treatments for Seborrheic Keratosis? (Image: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences)

Removing the brownish skin growths classified as seborrheic keratoses requires minor surgery. Leaving the growths in place will do no harm, but people may want to have them frozen, burned or scraped off if seborrheic keratoses spread, bleed or itch.

When to Seek Treatment

Removing seborrheic keratoses makes sense if the noncancerous and nonviral growths grow large, appear on the face or hands, bleed when rubbed by clothing or start to itch. People tend to develop more seborrheic keratoses as they age.

Freezing

During cryosurgery, a health care provider applies liquid nitrogen to a seborrheic keratosis. This kills the growth, which detaches from the skin after a few weeks.

Burning

Electrosurgey involves the application of an electric cauterizer to a seborrheic keratosis. This procedure requires the injection or topical application of a local anesthetic.

Scraping

Curettage--scraping the skin after anesthetization--sometimes accompanies both cryosurgery and electrosurgery. Curettage ensures complete removal of the seborrheic keratosis.

Complications

Minor bleeding sometimes follows curettage, though this can be controlled by the application of direct pressure. Also, the skin from which a seborrheic keratosis was removed can become temporarily discolored.

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