WHAT IS AN EXCISION TO REMOVE BASAL CELL AND SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA?
An excision is the removal of a skin cancer along with some of the healthy skin tissue around it. This is an outpatient office procedure and you will be able to return home the same day.
WHAT HAPPENS ON THE DAY OF SURGERY?
You will be placed on the surgical table, and the area around your skin cancer will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Once it is numb, the visible cancer and a thin layer of healthy tissue around it will be removed. This tissue will be carefully handled and placed in a biopsy bottle. The incision is then closed with stitches. If the incision is large, sometimes a flap or a skin graft is necessary to close the wound. The wound is then cleaned and a pressure dressing is applied.
You will be asked to make an appointment to return to have your stitches removed.
The edges (margins) of the skin where the skin cancer was removed will be examined in a lab by a pathologist to see whether any cancer cells still remain outside the area of skin that was removed. It is extremely important that the entire skin cancer be removed to reduce the risk of recurrence.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?
Recovery is usually very easy and uneventful. Most patients are able to return to work and normal activities shortly after having an excision. Heavy lifting, bending over at the waist and swimming should be avoided. Your physician will advise you if there are any other specific activity precautions you should take based on your specific surgery.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF SURGERY?
Risks of using an excision to remove skin cancers include but are not limited to the following:
- The wound may bleed, cause pain, or become infected.
- Scarring may occur.
- A hematoma (collection of blood under the sutures) may form.
- Bruising and/or swelling around the wound.
- All cancer cells may not be removed, leaving a margin of cancer cells that will need to be re-excised.
Frequently asked questions
- Do I need to stop any blood thinning medications?
We do not require you to stop any medication prior to your surgery. If you desire to stop any medication you should consult your medical doctor or cardiologist prior to doing so.
- Should I have a driver or someone with me during the surgery?
While it is not necessary, if you are more comfortable with a companion driving you to and from the surgery, please do so. Your companion may wait with you in the waiting room, but may not accompany you into the exam room during surgery.
- What should I do if I experience bleeding after my surgery?
We recommend that you apply steady, gentle pressure to the wound for a minimum of 15-20 minutes. If bleeding continues after that amount of time, please call our office.
- I have bruising and swelling, is this normal?
Yes, this is completely normal. You can apply an ice pack to the area for 15-20 minutes every hour to prevent or reduce any swelling. You may also elevate any limbs to reduce swelling.
If you have any questions, please contact us today.