Surgical Excision

To remove cancerous skin, your Dermatology physician will begin by outlining the area with a skin-marking pen. A margin of normal appearing skin will be included because there is no way to determine with the naked eye how far the cancer cells have spread. The excision outline is drawn in the shape of a football so that the skin can be sewn back together to lay flat. After your dermatologist administers a local anesthetic, he or she will remove the cancerous skin. The entire procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.

Healing and Scarring

Wounds from this type of surgery heal in 1 to 2 weeks and a very thin white scar will usually remain. Many factors affect scarring, including wound care and on which part of the body the surgery occurred. The areas of the body where there is a lot of movement often result in wider scars. Wound care instructions will be discussed on the day of surgery with your dermatologist.

Advantages and disadvantages of surgical excision

The advantage of surgical excision is that the cancerous area and periphery of normal skin around the lesion are examined under the microscope after the procedure to determine if all cancer cells have been removed. As a result, the cancer cure rate with excision is high. The disadvantage of surgical excision is that extra tissue needs to be removed to be certain all cancer is eliminated, which leads to a larger scar.

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