Electrodesiccation and Curettage Surgery


Electrodesiccation and curettage surgery, or ED&C, is a surgical technique designed to remove non-aggressive basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. ED&C is a simple, in-office procedure that has a 93% success rate.


The entire procedure is usually finished in the duration of a normal office visit. Occasionally, the wound after ED&C will be larger than the initial lesion or biopsy site because skin cancer cells are often present in the skin before they are visible to the eyes. Even those skin cancer cells that are not yet visible are able to be scraped away, which makes ED&C an appropriate and good choice for small, thin basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas on certain areas of the body. ED&C is not generally a preferred treatment for skin cancers on the face, ears, hands, feet, genitalia, or scalp, as these are areas where Mohs surgery is usually recommended.


Before the procedure begins, an anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area. Once the anesthetic has fully taken effect, an instrument called a curette is used to scrape away skin cancer cells from the skin. Once the experienced provider determines that the cancerous cells have been adequately removed, the treatment area is cauterized in a process called desiccation. This process of scraping and desiccating is repeated two to three times to complete the treatment. The wound then heals over a period of a few weeks, without requiring stitches.