What is Surgical Excision?
When a patient is found to have melanoma, or skin cancer, the cancerous skin growth must be removed. Surgical excision is a common treatment, which involves using a scalpel to cut, or excise, out the lesion, as well as the surrounding tissue. Once the growth and tissue are removed, San Antonio dermatologist, Dr. Garcia, will send them to a pathologist for additional testing to confirm whether or not all of the cancer has effectively been removed. If more cancer remains, Dr. Garcia can perform additional procedures to remove the remaining cancer.
Since surgical excision is an invasive procedure, anesthesia will be given. For smaller, easier to reach melanomas, a local anesthetic will be administered. If a melanoma is larger and in a more difficult location, general anesthesia would be required. Prior to surgery, the doctor will thoroughly clean the treatment area and administer anesthesia. The cancer will be removed using a scalpel to make horizontal cuts around the growth, including surrounding tissue. An electrode can be used to perform a feathering technique, which will smooth the edges around the wound. This helps to remove extra cells from the growth and minimizes the chance of scarring.
Small excisions can be stitched closed. With larger excisions, a skin graft may be needed to close up the wound. A chemical will be applied on the treatment area to stop any bleeding and an antibiotic ointment will be applied to accelerate the healing process. In addition, a sterile badge will be applied to protect the wound and keep it from getting infected.
"Great doctor. Short wait time. Great staff. Good results (I hope). "- B. / Demandforce / Mar 12, 2016
"I came here in February and had a wonderful experience. I only waited about 10 minutes and a lovely PA treated me. She was very warm and engaging, I really appreciated it because I was initially anxious and uncomfortable about the procedure. We laughed a lot and although the process was quite painful, she definitely made it more bearable. Will be following up soon for a second!"- B. / Google / Oct 23, 2020
"I’ve been coming here for about a year or so, I have to be honest, I haven’t had the best luck. Few times, including today, I wanted to give up and find a new place BUT I’ve meant the sweetest, caring, compassionate, hard working, goes out of her way to make things right......her name is Kim. She has gone above and beyond to take care of things that weren’t taken care of before. And for that I will continue to come, because I know I can count on her. Thank you Kim for caring about me as a patient and a customer. You have touched my heart with your listening ear, kindness and have always cared about my concerns. I wish everyone was like you! I’m grateful and thankful for you."- T.W. / Yelp / Jul 22, 2021
"I've been coming here for about a year or so, I have to be honest, I haven't had the best luck. Few times, including today, I wanted to give up and find a new place BUT I've meant the sweetest,..."- T.W. / Yahoo / Jul 22, 2021
"Great first impression! I initially received a referral from my PCP to another dermatology clinic but, after reading some of the reviews and asking around, I made the decision to cancel that referral and find another clinic in my network. I chose this one based on the good reviews here and elsewhere. I was seen by Daniella Arellano PA-C for hair loss/thinning. She listened to everything I had to say and presented various options we could take. No pressure to dive balding-head first into some expensive procedure, but I am happy that I was presented with a few paths to pursue without ruling out any of them for future consideration. I even had some medical questions a week after my appointment so I called and left a message, and I received a call back the same day with answers.This was my first time at this office. It was very clean and everyone I encountered from check-in to check-out was very nice. Located on Sonterra ACROSS from the Methodist hospital - navigation kept wanting me to go TO the hospital!I have only given it 4 stars because I don’t know yet if the visit will fix my issue and I did not want to mislead anyone by giving the impression they can fix EVERYTHING immediately. Maybe they can... and then it will be a 5!"- S.O. / Yelp / Jul 14, 2021
What to Expect
Since anesthesia is used for surgical excision, a patient shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. However, a patient may experience a pushing sensation as the cuts are being made in the treatment area. For some patients, this could be a source of discomfort. The overall length of the surgery can depend on the patient’s particular case such as how large the growth is or on which area of the body it’s found. A patient should also be made aware that the amount of border tissue excised is dependent on how deep the melanoma is. The deeper the melanoma, the wider the border of normal skin is taken. A doctor may also remove fat and skin from underneath the melanoma.
The length of recovery and downtime depends on the location and extent of the particular excision such as if skin grafts were required. After surgery, a patient may experience a burning sensation or general discomfort in the area where the cancer was removed. For the first few days following the surgery, the patient may be advised to take an over-the-counter medication such as acetaminophen to alleviate pain. A patient can also expect some scarring which will appear red for the first few weeks, but over time, it will lighten. Various creams or gels can be applied to help lighten the scar. To protect the wound, a bandage should be placed over the treatment site when out in the sun.
Plan Your Procedure
Treat Your Melanoma Safely
Whenever a patient encounters any type of growth that appears abnormal, he or she should seek medical attention as soon as possible. The growth could be cancerous and the sooner it is discovered, the better the patient’s chance for survival. An excision may be warranted which can remove all of the cancer before it spreads to surrounding skin and other body parts. Excision also allows for cells to undergo further testing which could confirm whether all cancer has been removed. Make an appointment as soon as possible to meet with a trained medical professional to examine the growth, discuss medical and family history and discuss all options, including if surgical excision is appropriate.