Seborrheic keratosis

Seborrheic Keratosis (seb-o-REE-ik care-uh-TOE-sis) is a common skin growth that is not cancerous. Most often seborrheic keratoses start as small, rough bumps. Then slowly they thicken and get a warty surface. They range in color from white to black. Most are tan or brown.

Because seborrheic keratoses are harmless, they most often do not need treatment. A dermatology provider may remove a seborrheic keratosis when it is hard to distinguish from skin cancer or irritates a patient.


Treatments

  • Cryosurgery

    The dermatology provider applies liquid nitrogen, a very cold liquid, to the growth with a spray gun. This freezes the growth. The seborrheic keratosis tends to fall off within a few weeks. Sometimes a blister forms under the seborrheic keratosis and dries into a scab-like crust. The crust will fall off.

  • Electrosurgery and curettage

    Electrosurgery (electrocautery) involves numbing the growth with an anesthetic and using an electric current to cauterize (burn) the growth. A scoop-shaped surgical instrument, a curette, is used to scrape off the treated growth. This is the curettage. The patient does not need stitches. There may be a small amount of bleeding. Sometimes the patient needs only electrosurgery or just curettage.