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Surgical Excision is a treatment option available to treat a variety of skin concerns, including skin cancers, atypical nevi, and some benign growths. Our board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology may recommend surgical excision to remove cancerous or problematic skin conditions.
What is Surgical Excision?
An excision surgery removes a variety of skin problems, including atypical nevi, skin cancer, or other benign growths. The procedure also removes some of the healthy skin tissue surrounding the area, called the margin. Our board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology typically recommend this type of removal when the patient is experiencing aggressive types of skin cancer, such as melanoma.
Patients should expect to spend approximately four hours in our office, with time slots varying depending on the size of the cancerous area of the patient. We use a local anesthetic to numb the affected area and use what’s commonly referred to as “elliptical excision” for most surgeries. After removal of the tumorous or cancerous tissue and the margin, the incision is closed with stitches to help reduce the appearance of scarring. In some cases, our dermatologists may recommend a skin graft or flap to repair the incision when it covers a large area.
What Types of Skin Cancer are Treated with Surgical Excision?
Our dermatologists at Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology typically recommend surgical excision to remove a variety of skin cancers, including:
When a patient suspects they may be experiencing symptoms of skin cancer, our dermatologists will typically perform a biopsy excision to closely examine the tissue and determine if there are any cancerous cells. Following a positive diagnosis, we may recommend a surgical excision procedure to remove the cancerous cells and margin for further examination.
Our dermatologists will share if the margin exhibits any cancerous cells, which could lead to future procedures, including Mohs surgery.
Surgical Excision FAQ
Most excision wounds heal in about one to three weeks following the procedure. If a skin graft or flap was required to close the wound, the healing process may require up to two months to fully heal. Patients should expect to experience some pain and soreness around the excision site.
An excision is considered a surgical procedure, though it often only requires the use of local anesthesia. Patients can expect to be in our office for the procedure for approximately four hours. However, the dermatologist will provide a more precise estimate of time for the procedure depending on the size of the area to be excised.
The difference between an incision and an excision depends on the purpose of the procedure. Our dermatologists will use an incision to perform a biopsy to test for any cancerous cells or questionable areas. An excision means “to cut out,” and is used to remove the cancerous tissue and margin to treat skin cancers.
Mohs surgery differs from excision surgery in several ways, mainly because our Mohs surgeons remove as little of the healthy tissue surrounding the skin cancer. With surgical excision, some of the surrounding tissue, or the margin, is removed to test if the cancer has spread. Our dermatologists will determine which procedure is recommended based on the results of a biopsy and the type of cancer the patient is suffering from.