Skin Cancer Excision

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer but can have very high cure rates when diagnosed and treated early.  Depending on the type of your skin cancer, there may be more than one treatment that your provider can recommend to you.  Most commonly, this is surgical excision to cut out the skin cancer completely.

What to expect

Sometimes skin cancer can spread further than what we can see with the naked eye, but once the tissue is processed in a lab and placed under a microscope, cancerous cells can be seen.  For standard excision, the skin cancer will be removed and then sent to an outside lab for evaluation by someone trained to look at skin cells, a dermatopathologist.  Since the tissue is sent away for inspection, there is no way to know immediately if the cancer is removed.  To increase the success of full removal, standard amounts (a few millimeters) of extra normal-appearing skin around the skin cancer are also excised.


Unless stated otherwise, you can drive yourself to and from your skin cancer surgery, as you will be awake during the procedure.  Your provider will mark the skin cancer and then the area is numbed with local numbing injections and cleaned.  They will cut into your skin to remove the cancer and necessary, surrounding normal-appearing skin.  Then, the wound is closed by stitching or gluing the skin shut and bandaged.  The entire procedure can take under one hour.


We will provide you with instructions on how to take care of the site at your surgery.  For most of our procedures, you can expect two weeks of downtime that includes refraining from swimming or being in standing water, hot tubs, pools, lakes, or oceans.  You may need to return to the office for suture removal or other wound evaluation following the procedure.

Post-procedure instructions can be found Here.

When to make an appointment

If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and want to know if surgical excision is an appropriate and effective treatment, Contact us to make an appointment.  If you have a skin growth that has suddenly changed, appears to be abnormal or is non-healing, it should be evaluated by a medical provider.