What is a lump/lesion?

The term lump/ lesion can include many different types of abnormal (but usually harmless) 
lumps or lesions anywhere on the body. The most common include:

  • Lipoma, which is a fatty lump underneath the skin
  • Sebaceous cyst: a sack located underneath the skin, which is often filled with a cheese like substance.
  • Skin tag, which is a small harmless piece of excess skin that is attached by a stalk.

How are lumps/lesions removed? 

For most lumps /lesion, a cut is made over the lump which usually extends a little beyond the lump width on each end. This is to allow for the edges of the skin to be closed easily allowing for your skin’s natural folds and elasticity and without causing an unsightly bulking or puckering at the wound edges.

For most external lesions a small elliptical cut is made around the lesion (again extending slightly longer than the lesion at both ends. Skin tags can either be cut at the stalk that connects them to your skin or sometimes burnt off with electricity (diathermy). 

Sutures will then be used to close the cut. These will be either dissolvable or non-dissolvable, but this will generally not be known until you return to the ward after your surgery. You will be given information on your sutures before you are discharged.

Are there any risks?

The risks associated with this procedure are:

Wound infection

Signs include redness, swelling and maybe a discharge from the wound and/or raised temperature; this can be treated with antibiotics from your GP. 


If you experience heavy bleeding that cannot be stopped with firm pressure over the wound for 15 minutes you should contact your local Emergency (A&E) Department.

What are the benefits?

Your lump/lesion will be gone, as will any inconvenience it causes you with your day-to-day activities.

What are the alternatives?

There are no alternatives for removal of lumps under the skin. The alternatives for removal of some other lesions/skin tags may include cryotherapy (freezing the lesion/skin tag) but this would be offered by a dermatologist, not a surgeon. 

Providing the lesions/lumps are harmless, the position of any lesions/lumps and how they impact or affect your quality of life will often dictate the need for a surgical operation.

Will I have an anaesthetic?

Most lumps/lesions are removed under local anaesthetic. The risks associated with local anaesthetic include:

  • Redness and swelling at the injection site
  • Lignocaine (local anaesthetic drug) toxicity (rare)

If you have many multiple lumps/lesions or the lump is large, you may need to have your procedure under a general anaesthetic. Side effects of general anaesthetic may occasionally include:

  • Sickness
  • Sore throat
  • Headache 
  • Mild aches. 

A general anaesthetic may also affect your judgement, co-ordination, or memory for 24 hours so in that time you must not: 

  • Drive a car or ride a bicycle. 
  • Operate machinery (including kitchen equipment)
  • Make any important decisions or sign any legal documents
  • Go to work or school

What preparation do you need?

There are no specific preparations required for this type of surgery.

After the operation

You may have some discomfort for the first day or two. Make sure you have some of your regular pain relief medication at home. The local anaesthetic will keep the operation site numb for between two to six hours (depending on the type of local anaesthetic used). 

As soon as you start to feel the local anaesthetic wearing off (which will be a tingling feeling), it is advisable to take some form of pain relief tablet. It is also advisable to have some pain relief just before you go to bed (allowing for it being the correct time for your next dose) to help you have a comfortable night's sleep.

You will have a small dressing in place which can be removed after 24 hours. Once the dressing is removed you may shower and get the wound wet. After your shower, gently pat the wound dry. Do not apply any creams or powder to the Wound until 14 days after your surgery.

You will have some stitches inserted. These may be dissolvable or need to be removed. Information about this will be given to you when you are discharged.