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Meet the Expert: Dr Jennifer Crawley on suspicious skin lesions, skin cancer and skin tags

Dr Jennifer Crawley biopsies suspicious skin lesions in case they are cancerous, and she also removes more innocent but troublesome skin tags.
Jennifer: It is imperative, Jane, that if we are worried about any lesion that we either take a skin biopsy. Or if I am concerned and there are definitive changes under the dermatoscope that makes me think that this is a high-risk lesion, then it would be essential that I excise or remove that whole lesion as soon as possible.
Jane: How easy is it to do that either the biopsy or an excision/removal of a lesion?
Jennifer: That’s very straightforward, Jane. I map out the margins that I need to take around the concerning lesion. I then inject local anaesthetic around this area, remove the lesion and send it off for analysis in the laboratory. I then close the wound by using stitches that obviously I’d need to remove after that. Then it is imperative that I see the patient again to discuss their report from the laboratory in detail.
Jane: When is the report available?
Jennifer: Normally, Jane the report will be available to me within the seven days, and I will see any patient who I do any surgery on within that timeframe so we can discuss all their results directly.
Jane: So apart from the red skin and the lumps and bumps and moles, what else are you interested in doing? What do you like best in adult dermatology?
Jennifer: I suppose something Jane that we have not discussed that we do at Clinica are those little skin lesions that we will know are innocent, benign and nothing to worry about, but perhaps one cannot be referred to the NHS for treatment. For example, patients who have skin tags that we know are benign or innocent, but they can be very troublesome from a cosmetic point of view or if there are in areas that are perhaps catching on clothing.
Jane: That would be the neck, the armpit..?
Jennifer: Exactly! So around the neck Jane, perhaps the waistband, maybe it regularly catches on clothing. So they can be troublesome from both an appearance and symptom point of view.
Jane: So cosmetic..?
Jennifer: Absolutely Jane, and they are very easy to treat. We can either surgically remove these via something called a shave excision, or we can use cryotherapy, which is a specific freezing technique. So that is something that is very easy and something that I enjoy seeing patients about because we can help in those situations very quickly.

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