What Is Excision Surgery?
Typically, we remove an elliptical shape of skin. Then we repair the resulting wound by loosening the surrounding skin. To close the wound, we layer deep and superficial sutures to achieve a straight line. The suture line may be longer than expected, approximately three times as long as the diameter of the wound.
On rare occasions, we may apply more advanced repair techniques to close the wound, such as:
Flap — we elevate the skin adjacent to the wound and move it to cover the defect. We typically use flaps for larger wounds and wounds in delicate areas or under tension.
Skin graft — we harvest skin from a different area of your body to cover the wound. This type of repair can take longer to heal but can provide excellent results for complex defects.
In some instances, we allow healing by granulation. This means the wound is left open and allowed to heal on its own. Certain areas heal very well this way but take longer to heal completely.
Following excision, we submit the skin specimen for a pathological examination. Results are typically available in a week. There is a small possibility that the excision margins did not adequately remove the lesion, in which case an additional excision may need to be performed at a later date.
Learn More About Excision Surgery
How Do I Prepare For Excision Surgery?
Prior to Surgery
We schedule some clients for smaller surgeries directly without a preoperative visit. The consultation may be performed the day of the procedure. It is important that you read all the information we provide and fill out the Medical History Form. Please notify your surgeon of any blood thinners or any medications or current illnesses you have that may impair your ability to heal.
For some surgeries and some patients who may have difficulty after surgery, we ask that you consult with one of our dermatologic surgeons prior to the surgery date, and we will gladly schedule an appointment.
The Day of Surgery
We perform surgical excision under local anesthesia. We suggest that you eat your normal breakfast unless otherwise specified. Please bathe or shower and wash your hair to minimize the risk of a surgical site infection on the day of surgery.
What Is Excision Surgery Like?
The length of your procedure will depend on the technique chosen to excise the lesion. How many lesions you’re having excised, their size, and their location can also determine how long your procedure will take. Your consultation should give you an idea what to expect for the procedure. We perform excisions with local anesthesia to make you as safe and comfortable as we can.
Is There Any Downtime?
You should plan on decreased activity and restrict travel for one to two weeks, and in some cases longer. This is important in order to minimize scarring and to reduce the chances of bleeding. You will be asked to follow up in one to two weeks. Subsequent visits may be necessary.
What Are The Risks?
Most people experience little discomfort after surgery. Usually, Tylenol is sufficient to control the pain.
Bruising and Swelling
Bruising and swelling are common following surgery and usually last for several days. Applying ice in the first 24 hours helps to reduce these symptoms.
The infection rate for skin surgery is very low. We may recommend a preoperative antibiotic for some patients. Some redness along the suture line is typical, but if you experience increased pain, swelling, or drainage, please notify us immediately.