What cancers are removed by surgical excision?
Malignant melanoma is one of the most dangerous and agressive skin cancers. Early detection and excision is the best ways to get a good cure rate. The size of the excision depends on the depth of the melanoma which is determined under the microscope with the biopsy.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the next aggressive skin cancer usually seen. If these lesions occur on the trunk or extremities an excision is usually done. On the face Mohs surgery is usually performed.
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common and least aggressive skin cancers. On the trunk or extremities they can be excised, curetted and desiccated, or a topical medication can be used. On the face, Mohs surgery can be done.
What benign lesions are excised?
Many benign skin growths can be excised such as cysts, lipomas (fatty tumors) and nevi (mole). Some lesions are removed by shave excisions which require no sutures such as benign nevi and seborrheic keratosis.
What happens after the surgery?
Post op skin care instructions will be given on a printed sheet. Usually a pressure dressing is applied and left intact for 24 hours. During this time ice can be applied over the dressing every couple of hours for 15-20 minutes. Care should be taken to avoid lifting anything over 15-20 pounds. After the pressure bandage is removed the wound is cleaned with saline and an antibiotic ointment and bandage reapplied. Sutures are left in usually 7-14 days.