Cauterization is an outpatient procedure to prevent excessive blood loss. The term 'Cautery' refers to a white hot iron rod usually heated it till it is dull red in color before the procedure. Cauterization helps in the closure of blood vessels to prevent bleeding. The predominant forms of cauterization procedure administered in the modern world are electro cautery and chemical cautery.
This procedure is similar to the principle applied in soldering iron. A metal probe, usually iron is heated with help of an electric circuit to a desirable temperature. This method is applied to close the small blood vessels and also in intricate procedures that involves the cutting of small tissues. Skin Cancer is also treated by this method since it involves the principle of removing tissue with cutterage and desiccation caused by electricity. Soft tissues are also cut with electro cauterization as the amount of bleeding caused is almost negligible. Electro cauterization is considered safer than chemical cauterization as the damage caused to neighboring tissues is minimal.
The administration of chemicals can damage healthy tissues during the procedure and hence this method is not preferred by many doctors. Although the agents used are common chemicals, there is a probability of tissue leaching by the chemicals which can create additional complications. The chemicals commonly used during this procedure are cantharidin which is administered in case of warts or lesions on the skin, silver nitrate and trichloroacetic acid.
Cauterization is done in various areas of the body depending upon the type, size and the location of the lesion, wart or an abnormal tissue. In most cases cauterization is an outpatient procedure. However in case of cervical tissue growth, general anesthesia is administered as it involves deep tissues associated with the cervix. Epistaxis or nose bleed is another condition in which cauterization procedure is widely administered.
Electro cauterization is usually a seven minute procedure for skin lesions and warts and it is performed under local anesthesia. The cells which are burnt are carefully removed by the physician. A thorough analysis is done in the laboratory to rule out complications such as secondary infections or tissue damage. Cauterization is also used in the removal of scars and moles. The moles removed by cauterization usually heal in a few days and the patient is advised to keep the wound in sterile condition to prevent infections.
Pyogenic granulomas are common skin lesions that appear as tiny red bumps. These lesions have moist, shiny and smooth surface and are prone to bleeding quite often. They tend to bleed frequently as they contain large number of blood vessels at the site. These bumps are usually attached to the skin with stalk. The diameter of the stalk always measures lesser compared to the tumor. Pyogenic granulomas most often occur in children and young adults. It is also common in pregnant women and hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy is said to be the reason for developing Pyogenic granulomas during such period.
Causes and Symptoms
The exact cause for pyogenic granuloma is not known. However it normally occurs at the site of injured or damaged skin. This condition is neither hereditary nor is it contagious.
Pyogenic granulomas is normally diagnosed on mere observation during the clinical examination. A biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Pyogenic granulomas may shrink, dry up and fall off on their own over a period of time. Yet the condition most often requires medical attention and treatment much before that; as the wait may be painful and distressing. Pregnant women need not opt for any treatment as the lesions disappear after delivery. In normal cases the following methods are usually followed to treat Pyogenic granulomas.
Curettage: Curettage is always known to be the first line treatment for Pyogenic granulomas. Curettage involves scraping of the lesion with a curette, a spoon like instrument with sharp edges. Once the lesion is removed, Electro cauterization is performed to avoid regrowth and prevent infection.
Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy involves freezing the lesion using liquid nitrogen. This method is effective in treating small lesions. Cryotherapy does not leave a deep scar. However it may change the color of the skin at the site.
Silver nitrate: Cauterization using silver nitrate is also a commonly followed method in treating Pyogenic granulomas.
Laser surgery: Laser treatment has been gaining popularity in treating Pyogenic granulomas. It is an outpatient procedure and results in better cosmetic appearance with little or no scarring.
Excision: There are high chances of recurrence even after timely treatment in Pyogenic granuloma. In such cases, the most effective method of treatment is to completely remove affected area through surgical excision and then close it with sutures.
Acrochordon, also known as skin tag is an overgrowth of the skin hanging loose from the surrounding area and is connected by a stalk (peduncle). Acrochordons are normally benign growths; they are soft wrinkled protrusions and appear in flesh or light brown color. They are filled with collagen fibres and blood vessels with a thin layer of skin covering them.
They do not cause any pain and small growths may just fall off unknowingly. Slightly bigger acrochordons do not fall on their own and need to be removed using various methods. Though they can occur anywhere on the body, the areas like under arms, eyelids, upper chest, neck, and groin are more prone to develop skin tags as the skin here rubs against the clothing or with the adjoining skin. Acrochordon occurs in both men and women and the frequency of the condition increases as we age.
What causes Acrochordon?
Skin tags are caused by the constant rubbing between the skins of adjacent sites. Obesity is one of the very obvious causes that lead to acrochordon. These people tend to develop more skin tags simply because they have more skin folds on their body. Research also shows that this condition is inherited: people with close relatives having acrochordons have higher chances of developing this skin condition. Pregnant women also have a tendency to develop skin tags due to the hormonal changes taking place in their bodies. Diabetic patients are also prone to skin tags. Wart virus or human papilloma virus also cause skin tags.
Clinical examination is sufficient to diagnose the acrochordon. Yet in case of suspicion, doctor may advise skin biopsy. This procedure involves removal of small piece of skin to be examined in laboratory. This is done to rule out any malignancy of the growth.
Treatment of Acrochordon
Typically acrochordons do not require any treatment and they need not be removed. But the bearer may choose to get it removed either for cosmetic reasons or if the tags become bothersome. A word of caution here, if the skin tags are changing color or growing too quickly it is advisable to show it to your physician to rule out any further complications. Cryosurgery is used extensively, where the skin tag is removed by freezing it using the liquid nitrogen. Cauterization is one more method which involves burning of the skin tag using electrolysis (heat). Skin tags are also removed by surgical excision.
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: February 4, 2023