Surgical Excision

Surgical excision involves the removal of a margin of normal appearing skin around the known skin cancer site. After local anesthesia is achieved, an incision (usually elliptical in shape) is performed around and deep to the skin, extending the incision into the fat layer. In this manner both the peripheral margins and the base of the skin cancer may be excised. After removal of the tissue, the defect is repaired with stitches, often in a linear fashion. Once removed, the tissue is sent to a skin-specific laboratory for further evaluation by dermatopathologists to ensure complete removal of the cancer. The method of elliptical surgical excision is also employed in the removal of atypical (dysplastic) moles and benign tumors such as cysts and lipomas.