"There are no minor operations, only minor surgeons"
At Sumner Health Centre, we pride ourselves on the high quality of our surgical facilities and on the excellent results we obtain. You can expect exactly the same quality and standard of surgery from us as you might from a hospital setting.
We offer a very broad range of services so it is impossible to provide a truly comprehensive list. Some of our most popular services are listed below. For your convenience, we have included estimated prices for each procedure. Although we seldom vary our prices, it is possible that some lesions may be somewhat more or less costly to remove.
Remove moles and other skin lesions
We can remove almost all surface skin lesions including those on the face, neck and other cosmetically sensitive areas. Some are suitable for treatment with liquid nitrogen (available almost all the time) others require a local anaesthetic and stitches. A minority of problems are not suitable for local anaesthetic or may require specialist care. We will let you know at your first consultation if this is the case.
All our surgical specimens are sent for histological examination by Medlab South pathologists. This guarantees the highest standard of care and complete reassurance.
Sometimes we remove moles that are not likely to be malignant but are worrying or in an uncomfortable position for whatever reason. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have a mole that causes you the slightest concern.
Our usual price for this service is $210 for the first mole and $110 for others removed at the same time. We can usually remove up to four moles at one time. Some more complicated procedures may cost slightly more.
Remove small deeper lumps and bumps such as lipomas and sebaceous cysts.
Most small lumps and bumps on or just under the skin are suitable for local anaesthetic removal. Deeper lumps in the neck and groin will usually require hospital care. Lumps over about 5cm across have a higher risk of infection and bleeding when performed under local anaesthetic. As with moles, we will advise you at your first consultation whether the lesion can be removed safely by us or not.
Our usual price for removing deeper lumps and bumps is $235 although small lesions are $210.
Drain and pack abscesses.
The old surgical adage 'when there's pus about, let it out' is as true today as it was a century ago. Tense, painful infected sores will often not improve until they burst. Surgery can relieve the pain and speed healing in some cases. Almost all can be treated quickly and effectively with incision and drainage, followed by suitable dressings for a few days.
Incision and drainage of an abscess costs $170 and includes your consultation fee and up to four follow-up dressings at our surgery (dressings performed elsewhere are not included).
Perform wedge resections and other procedures for ingrowing toenails.
There are a lot of ways to treat ingrowing toenails and we offer a complete service. Cleaning and debriding, sometimes with temporary removal of part of the nail is useful for a first attack. Wedge resection has a very good chance of preventing the problem coming back and works by attempting to remove part of the toenail permanently. We will discuss all the options with you to ensure that you get the most appropriate treatment.
The price depends upon the complexity of the procedure but ranges from $180 for a debridement with or without nail excision up to $280 for Zadek's procedure (complete permanent removal of the nail and nail fold).
Treatment of corns.
Corns can be uncomfortable and cause many problems. Surgical excision of corn tissue may help to control symptoms and in some cases can be curative. No anaesthetic is needed as only dead skin is removed. The procedure is usually painless.
Corn debridement does not usually attract a fee other than the consultation cost. If you need corns debriding, please let reception know as not all our staff do this work.
Treatment for warts and verrucas.
Why pay for home wart remedies that are less effective when we can treat them safely, professionally and with the minimum of discomfort?
Although treatment of warts and verrucas does require an initial medical consultation for safety and to confirm the diagnosis, our nurse provides most of the treatment and this keeps the cost to a minimum. We can treat most warts and verrucas with liquid nitrogen at a fixed price per session. More than one treatment may be required.
We can treat several warts at once.
Our current pricing structure per treatment is: $8 for one wart, $15 for two and $22.50 for three or more (treated at the same session).
See our information sheet about liquid nitrogen for more details of the treatment.
Complications and Problems
It is important to understand that when you undergo surgery of any kind, however well performed, there may be problems. Usually these are minor, and easily dealt with. The most common complications are listed below:
- All surgery leaves a scar. Liquid nitrogen, for example may leave a pale area where it has been used. This does not usually improve with time. When we use a scalpel for an operation, a scar is inevitable. We discuss scar placement and direction with you and do all we can to minimise the size of scar. Sometimes, scars can stretch (leaving a leaf shape scar), hypertorphy (thicken) or keloid (spread). Some individuals and races are more susceptible to these problems and some areas of the body are higher risk than others. All people and all parts of the body may be affected. We will let you know if you are at higher than average risk.
- Stitches can leave marks.
- We use advanced surgical techniques to minimise this risk but individual results may vary. Most wounds are closed with dissolving stitches that do not leave marks. Some operations are not suitable for this type of closure but we will advise you of this during your initial consultation.
- Most scars will be quite red at first but rapidly fade. It can take up to 6 months before some scars become less noticeable and occasionally longer. If it is important that your scar is faded for a particular event, please make an appointment in plenty of time.
- We have to balance the risk of bleeding against any damage trying to minimise bleeding may cause. Occasionally a haematoma (blood clot) may form in your wound. These usually require no treatment but occasionally need to be removed or drained surgically. We do this at no cost to you if it is needed.
- Despite the best of care, any wound can become infected. Some parts of the body and some people are more susceptible than others. If you are at high risk we will tell you, and may ask you to take a course of antibiotics to reduce the risk.
- There is always some pain involved. Local anaesthetic stings slightly when it is used and occasionally you may feel some minor discomfort during your operation. We only numb the area we are operating on so you will feel us touching you. After the anaesthetic wears off, you may be a little sore (just as you are after a filling at the dentist). Toenail operations are more uncomfortable than most and we will prescribe suitable pain relief for you.
- Some patients find that stitches can itch. Please let us know if you have this problem and we will ensure that there is no infection causing the problem. Itching usually stops once the stitches are removed (5 to 12 days).
- All scars are numb to begin with. This is because tiny, invisible nerve fibres are cut as an inevitable part of cutting the skin. Usually there is no lasting problem as a result although a very small minority of patients find touching the scar unpleasant. We will warn you if we are operating in an area with a higher risk of this kind of problem.
- Some skin lesions may not be fully removed in one operation. This is due to to a need to ensure that we take as little normal tissue as possible. Occasionally, invisible parts of the original lesion remain and cause the problem to come back. All our surgical samples are examined by Medlab South pathologists and we will advise you when there may be a risk of recurrence.
Audit of Surgery
As part of our commitment to quality, we audit our results each year.
We examined the outcomes of operations performed at Sumner Health Centre excluding those performed for accident purposes. For the year from 01/04/08 to 31/03/09, Rob performed 64 procedures on 53 patients.
Of those, one patient developed a very minor wound infection and needed a short course of antibiotics. Two patients required further surgery to complete the work. One had an unexpectedly nasty tumour which required greater clearance than usual and the other had a planned biopsy and later re-excision.
Examination of the diagnostic accuracy reveals that in three cases of lesion excision, the mole in quesition was benign, although in each case, the patient was very keen to have it removed.
No other complications were recorded.