A wide local excision (WLE) is a surgical procedure to remove a small area of diseased or problematic tissue with a margin of normal tissue. This procedure is commonly performed on benign and malignant skin lesions.
- Most often, an area the shape of an ellipse (an American football) is removed, as this makes it easier to close with stitches.
- The entire lesion is removed, going as deep as the fat, if needed, to get the whole area. A margin of about 3 to 4 millimeters (mm) or more surrounding the tumor may also be removed to ensure clear margins.
- The tissue removed is examined under a microscope to confirm the type of lesion and to grade malignant tumors. This examination also determines if all of the lesion has been removed without leaving any behind.
The area is closed with stitches.