Removal of skin lesions

What are non-cancerous skin lesions?

Non-cancerous (benign) skin lesion can include the following:

  • Moles, corns/callous, skin tags (including anal tags)
  • A collection of small white spots commonly known as milk spots (milia)
  • A viral skin infection that most commonly affects children (molluscum contagiosum) A common, harmless condition where the skin becomes rough and bumpy (seborrhoeic keratosis)
  • Swollen blood vessels found slightly beneath the skin surface (spider angioma)
  • Yellowish deposits of fat underneath the skin, usually on or around the eyelids (xanthelasma)
  • Non-cancerous tumours which grow on nerves throughout the body (neurofibromata)
  • Cysts warts (epidermoid/pilar)
  • Skin-coloured, small bumps (papules) frequently found on the forehead and chin of those with acne (comedones).

Patient eligibility criteria:

Removal or treatment of non-cancerous skin lesions are not routinely funded by the patient's local NHS commissioning organisation. This is because all removal of these skin lesions, that do not meet the patient criteria are considered to be a cosmetic procedure.

The patient's local commissioning organisation will only fund the removal of non-cancerous skin lesions if the patient meets the following criteria:

  • Suspected or proven cancer
  • The location of the lesion is causing loss of function
  • Lesion is causing obstruction of orifice or vision (for guidance on clinical criteria please refer to the treatment policy information for upper and lower eyelid surgery)
  • The cyst has been a persistently infected (‘persistent’ is defined as three months) and;
  • The cyst has not responded to anti-biotics over the 3 month period and;
  • The cyst is beyond the scope of primary care to remove and;
  • The cyst is causing a functional impairment.

The clinician in charge of the care of the patient’s specific condition, usually a hospital doctor, can assist the application, if there is exceptional clinical need for the treatment to be funded. The patient’s clinician must evidence clinical exceptionality and must be supported by the patient’s local NHS commissioning organisation. See separate leaflet for more information on Individual Funding Requests (IFRs).

Advice and further guidance:

Additional information is available at the British Association of Dermatologists website, by searching for ‘patient information leaflets’ on the British Association of Dermatologists website.

  • For more information, search for 'skin lesions' at www.nhs.uk
  • Choosing Wisely UK is part of a global initiative aimed at improving conversations between patients and their doctors and nurses.

Treatment policy for patients covered by NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG

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