In addition to treating common health complaints, most GP surgeries offer a minor surgery clinic. This allows patients to quickly resolve small health issues that aren't necessarily serious health risks but are causing discomfort. Accessing minor surgery in this way can save you from waiting for a hospital appointment, and your GP will provide any follow-up services as required, such as changing dressings or checking that your wound is healing well. Here's an overview of two minor surgery procedures a GP can perform:
Aspiration Of Sebaceous Cysts
A sebaceous cyst is a mass of dead skin cells, keratin and oil deposits that develops around one or more sebaceous glands. These small glands produce oil that stops your skin and hair from drying out, but they can become blocked or stop working properly and begin to get clogged up. Sebaceous cysts are typically found on the back, neck and scalp and are usually harmless, but they can be uncomfortable or cause embarrassment.
A GP can aspirate a cyst and remove the mass under your skin by using a scalpel to make a wide incision across the diameter of the cyst. Before making the incision, they will inject local anaesthetic around the site of the cyst to numb the area. Once the incision has been made, they will aspirate the cyst and clean out the area with an antiseptic wash before applying a dressing to the area. You will need to change the dressing regularly for several days, as exudate is likely to leak from your wound until the tissue begins to heal. You may also be prescribed a topical antibiotic to prevent the incision site from becoming infected.
Removal Of Skin Tags
Skin tags are harmless growths that are typically connected to your skin by thin stalks. They can appear anywhere on your body, but they're commonly found on the neck, eyelids and armpits. You may wish to have a skin tag removed if it causes you embarrassment or if it's prone to irritation from clothes rubbing against it.
There are two ways your GP can remove a skin tag, and the area around the skin tag will always be numbed with a local anaesthetic spray before it's removed. Firstly, a scalpel can be used to simply cut the skin tag off at the stalk, and this method is typically used for small skin tags. Secondly, your GP can use liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin tag. This method, known as cryotherapy, causes the skin cells to die and the skin tag will fall off by itself within a few days. Cryotherapy is useful for larger skin tags or clusters of skin tags.
These are just two examples of minor surgery procedures your GP can carry out. If you have a minor health complaint that requires day case surgery, ask your GP practice for the details of the surgical procedures that they can undertake.