An excision is one of several different surgical procedures used to remove skin cancer. If the surgeon believes the cancer is liable to spread, other treatments may be considered after the surgery.
What Does an Excision Involve?
Surgery is scheduled after a biopsy has confirmed the presence of a skin cancer. The first step of an excision involves cleansing and anesthetizing the area. A margin of healthy skin is generally removed surrounding the biopsy site. This is done in hopes of removing the entire skin cancer, including any roots. The area is then close with stitches, both a deep layer that will dissolve and surface stitches that require a follow up appointment to be removed. The specimen is sent to a lab for review to make sure the cancer has been completely removed. The analysis may take a few days to several weeks.
What is a Wide Excision?
A wide excision, or a wide-local excision, is a type of excision that is most often used to remove melanomas, while the standard excision described above is generally used to treat basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. The procedure for a wide excision is similar to that of a standard excision, but the surgeon goes deeper and cuts wider margins. They, therefore, remove more tissue. As melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer as well as the type most likely to spread, the surgeon wants to make very sure they get all of the cancer cells. A wide excision can also be used to remove basal cell and squamous cell cancers.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery, also sometimes called margin-controlled excision, is a special technique for removing skin cancer. The surgeon removes the skin cancer in layers and then examines each layer in a laboratory before removing the next one. The surgeon keeps removing layers until they reach a layer that has no cancer cells in it. Mohs surgery can be used to treat basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and some melanoma.
When is Mohs Surgery Used?
Mohs surgery is often used under the following conditions:
• The patient’s skin cancer is located in an area where the surgeon needs to remove as little healthy tissue as possible, like the nose or near the eyes
• The patient has basal cell cancer that keeps coming back
• The cancer is growing into neighboring tissues
• The cancer is large
• The patient has a rare type of skin cancer
• The cancer has poorly defined borders
Removing Your Skin Cancer
When it comes to skin cancer, early treatment is critical. If you suspect that you have skin cancer, talk to our clinicians at Dermatology Associates so that you can learn more about all of our treatment options. We have offices in Franklin, Foxboro and Norwood. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.