Electrodesiccation and Curettage (also called EDC or ED&C) is a procedure used to remove skin cancer. Basal cell and squamous cell cancers are types of cancer in which abnormal skin cells grow out of control.
Most cases of these types of cancer can be cured if they are found and removed early. If the cancer is not completely removed, it may come back.
EDC is usually done in your doctor's office. After numbing the area, the doctor scrapes the top layers of skin away with a spoon-shaped tool (curette). Then the doctor heats the surface of the wound with an electric current through a metal instrument or needle (electrosurgery). This helps control bleeding and destroys any cancer cells that remain.
The doctor may repeat the process 2 or 3 more times. He or she scrapes a little beyond the edge of the cancer to help remove all the cancer cells. The wound is then covered with ointment and a bandage. A scab will form over the area.
The wound may take 3 to 6 weeks to heal, depending on the size of the area treated. Good wound care may help the scar fade with time.
The tissue that was removed will be sent to a lab to be looked at under a microscope. This is done to confirm if the tissue is skin cancer.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine
& Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Randall D. Burr, MD - Dermatology
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