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Dermatology Surgical Excision

doctors performing surgical excision

What Does Surgical Excision Mean?

Also known as shave excision, surgical excision is a procedure to remove any abnormal growths on the skin. It is a simple procedure where a doctor uses a sharp instrument to remove lesions, moles, or tumors from the skin.

It can be used to treat most types of skin cancer, as it can effectively remove the area affected by cancer cells and a healthy margin around the skin.

It is recommended for patients who have melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancers. You may be recommended surgical excision if you have any of the following.

  • Melanoma: Surgical excision can cure patients with thin melanomas by removing the entire cancerous tumor. If you've been diagnosed with melanoma, your doctor will most likely recommend surgical excisions.
  • Basal Cell And Squamous Cell Carcinomas: Most people with low-risk basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be effectively cured with surgery. While patients with high-risk cancer can also undergo this treatment, it is likely that the tumor will return soon after the treatment. It is recommended to use this in addition to other treatments for high-risk basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas to prevent cancer from returning.

Types of Skin Excisions

There are two types of skin excisions.

  • Elliptical Excision: This is the most common type of skin excision used to remove cancer cells. An oval-shaped area – think a canoe or a football – is removed from the affected area of the skin. This is because the oval shape allows for the skin to be easily sewn back together. If the cancer is diagnosed early on before it has grown onto a larger area of the skin, you will most likely receive an elliptical excision. A healing process may take up to a few weeks or months. But once it heals completely, there wouldn’t be prominent signs of the excision.
  • Deep Saucerization: A deeper scoop of the skin is removed in this type of skin excision. This usually leaves behind a wound or a circular defect on the surface of the skin. In fact, more often than not, the skin isn’t even sutured back together. Instead, it is left to heal naturally. Deep saucerization is performed when the cancer cells have penetrated deep into the skin.

Whichever type of skin excision you are getting, it will be an in-office procedure. You'll be administrated local anesthesia prior to the procedure to minimize the pain of the surgery. Depending on the size and depth of the excision, the surgery may take around 15 to 30 minutes. You will remain awake during the excision and will be aware of how things are going.

After the excision, the lesion collected from your skin will likely be placed in a specimen and be sent to a pathologist for evaluation. They will test the lesion and inform you if any further treatment is required to prevent the growth of cancer cells.

In the case of elliptical excisions, you can expect the sutures to be removed after a week or two. The pain following the surgery is usually mild. However, if you feel severe pain, you can manage it with over-the-counter drugs, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol.

What's The Difference Between Excision And An Incision?

Since surgical incisions are a lot more common than surgical excisions, you may be wondering about the difference between the two. While the two may sound similar, they are vastly different.

As you already know, surgical excisions are specifically used to remove cancer cells on the surface level of the skin. It may also be used to collect a sample of the cancer cell to determine the treatment.

On the other hand, a surgical incision is used in almost all surgeries, irrespective of the purpose. In order to facilitate an operation or surgical procedure, a cut is made through the skin. This cut is known as a surgical incision.

While the nature of surgical incision and excision is very similar – as both are used to cut through the skin – the purpose is usually very different.

Final Words

If you have a mole or lesion on your skin that looks suspicious, it is crucial to get it tested. If you notice any such abnormalities on your skin, visit Suncoast Skin Solutions today.

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