With this procedure, one of the medical providers at Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center will remove the biopsy proven skin cancer, or cancerous growth, along with the bordering tissue, which may appear to be normal. The excised tissue will be sent to a pathologist for further testing to determine whether or not the border is cancer-free. Our skilled practitioners at each of our locations are expertly trained to perform surgical excisions for moles and other lesions on the skin.
Since surgical excision is an invasive procedure, a local anesthetic will be administered. Prior to surgery, the doctor will thoroughly clean the treatment area and administer the anesthetic. The cancer will be removed using a scalpel to make horizontal cuts around the growth, including surrounding tissue. An electrode can be used to perform a feathering technique, which will smooth the edges around the wound. This helps to remove extra cells from the growth and minimizes the chance of scarring.
Small excisions can be stitched closed. With larger excisions, a skin graft may be needed to close up the wound. A chemical will be applied on the treatment area to stop any bleeding and an antibiotic ointment will be applied to accelerate the healing process. In addition, a sterile badge will be applied to protect the wound and keep it from getting infected.
What to expect
Since an anesthetic is used for surgical excision, a patient should not feel any pain during the procedure. However, a patient may experience a pushing sensation as the cuts are being made in the treatment area. The overall length of the surgery will depend on the patient’s particular case such as how large the growth is or on which area of the body it is found. A patient should also be made aware that the amount of border tissue excised is dependent on how deep the skin cancer is. The deeper the skin cancer, the wider the border of normal skin is taken.
The length of recovery and downtime depends on the location and extent of the particular excision such as if a skin graft was required. After surgery, a patient may experience a burning sensation or general discomfort in the area where the cancer was removed. For the first few days following the surgery, the patient may be advised to take an over-the-counter medication to alleviate pain. A patient can also expect some scarring which will appear red for the first few weeks, but over time, it will lighten. Various creams or gels can be applied to help lighten the scar. To protect the wound, a bandage should be placed over the treatment site when out in the sun.