The skin is our largest skin organ, yet we don’t always pay attention to it. We had a recent conversation with Allix Reeder, a certified Physician Assistant with Premier Surgical Associates. She provides a Skin Clinic and outpatient treatment for patients with minor skin issues at the Premier Surgical Parkwest office.
What type of skin issues do you usually see in your Premier Surgical Skin Clinic?
“We mostly see lipomas and sebaceous cysts. I also help patients with abscesses and other skin infections.”
A lipoma is a collection of fatty tissue cells that form together and are typically located just below the skin surface. It’s a slow-growing, fatty lump that isn’t cancerous, but feels doughy and moves freely with pressure. They can sometimes be tender if they become large or are in certain sensitive areas.
A sebaceous cyst is another noncancerous skin growth that’s most commonly found on the neck, back, and abdomen. These are typically firmer as they are filled with bacteria and often have a darker central pore. If this pore gets clogged, it can become infected and very tender. These also grow slowly over time.
Who is prone to have a lipoma or cyst?
“People of all sizes and shapes can develop these skin conditions, although there are people with certain genes who are more prone to having them. If you have had one, you are at a higher chance of developing another.”
What treatments are available at the Premier Surgical Skin Clinic?
“At Premier, we offer lipoma and cyst excision. I also help patients with incision and drainage if a cyst becomes infected, as well as draining superficial abscesses.”
In a lipoma excision, a local anesthetic is injected around the tumor to numb the area. After the anesthesia is given, the provider will make an incision in the skin and remove the tumor. A very similar process is used for the removal of sebaceous cysts. The only difference is that cysts have a capsule that holds the bacteria. This capsule must be removed entirely to ensure the cyst does not reform.
If a cyst becomes infected, incision and drainage are sometimes needed to alleviate the pressure and drain the contents. This, combined with antibiotics, will overtime allow the cyst to return to its non-infected state. The removal of the cyst capsule is then done at a later date once the skin has healed.
What are the benefits of doing these procedures in the office versus going to the Emergency Room?“The biggest benefits are the type of anesthesia, time, and cost. In the Skin Clinic, I use a local numbing agent, that allows the patient to drive themselves home afterwards rather than being put under anesthesia and needing a driver. Because of this, it is also a much lower risk. The procedure can be done in under an hour, compared to almost half a day in the O.R. Finally, the cost is significantly less in the office.”
What skin changes should someone report to his/her primary care provider?
“Skin discoloration, changing moles, or any unusual lesions that pop up and grow very quickly. If you have any personal or family history of skin cancer, you should pay closer attention and get annual skin checks. If you have a cyst that one day is stable and the next becomes hot, red & swollen, please call your Primary Care Provider as soon as possible!”
Allix stresses that regularly checking your skin is important because while most lesions are benign (non-cancerous), some are malignant (cancerous). Unlike most other organs, our skin is visible and quick diagnosis and treatment is key.
If you have a minor skin lump or bump that you’d like evaluated and removed in-office through the Premier Surgical Skin Clinic at Parkwest, request an appointment with Allix Reeder, PA-C by calling (865) 690-5263 or visiting https://www.premiersurgical.com/allix-reeder-pa-c-appointment-request/