This page is part of Toronto dermatologist Dr. Michelle Levy’s dermatology library. Please read our disclaimer for more information.

What is Electrodessication?

Electrodessication involves the application of an electric current to remove an unwanted skin growth.  It uses a high voltage current to essentially dry out the unwanted cells on the surface of the skin.  

What is Electrodessication Used For?

Electrodessication is used for the removal of a variety of unwanted skin growths including seborrheic keratoses, warts and skin tags.  It can also be used to shrink areas of sebaceous hyperplasia, "broken" blood vessels and some moles.

What are the Side Effects of Electrodessication and Curettage?

  • This procedure is very safe. Serious complications are exceptionally rare

  • There is temporary discomfort association with this procedures.

  • After the procedure, there will be a scab where the growth was treated. This usually resolves in 1-3 weeks

  • Scarring or permanent discolouration can occur but are very uncommon

  • Infection is uncommon but can occur with any surgical procedure. It is important to follow the wound care instructions.

How Should I Take Care of the Sites where I have been Treated with Electrodessication?

  • Keep the area dry for 24 hours

  • Apply Vaseline or Polysporin ointment twice per day to any areas treated on the face and scalp and once per day to areas on the body

  • Band aids are generally not necessary

  • There will be a scab that heals within 1-3 weeks

  • Protect the skin from the sun once the scab has healed (and always) by wearing sun-protective clothing or a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher