Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Its surgical removal is a frequently performed procedure. Over 80 percent of skin cancer lesions occur on visible areas such as the hands, neck and face.
Once a skin cancer lesion has been diagnosed, quick removal is crucial. This prevents the cancer from spreading. It also minimizes the appearance of scarring. By quickly removing the lesion, you can minimize the lasting effects on your body.
Conditions for Skin Cancer Removal
Good candidates are otherwise healthy individuals who have developed lesions diagnosed as skin cancer. The following types of lesions may be removed:
- Basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer
- Moles, which are typically harmless but can develop into malignant melanoma
- Kerotoses, also typically harmless with a chance of developing into squamous cell carcinoma
Discussing your full medical history with Dr. Mosiello will help ensure the best recovery. You may want to stop smoking and taking certain medication for improved healing.
What are the steps of skin cancer removal?
The specifics of skin cancer removal vary greatly for each procedure. This depends on the severity and size of the lesion to be removed. Small lesions may be removed by simply excising the lesion and the area surrounding it. The incision is then closed with fine sutures for minimal scarring. Larger lesions may be removed in a number of ways including:
- Curettage and desiccation, in which the lesion is shaved and treated with electric current
- Radiation therapy
- Cryosurgery, which is freezing of the lesion
- Topical chemotherapy, in which surface chemotherapy drugs are applied to the skin
- Moh’s surgery, in which the cancer is shaved away layer by layer
Very large lesions may require the use of a skin flap or graft to cover the treatment area. This procedure involves the removal of the entire lesion area. This skin is then replaced with unaffected skin from elsewhere on the body. Fine sutures are used to ensure minimal scarring.
How long is recovery following the procedure?
The recovery period for skin cancer removal varies depending on the extent of the procedure. A bandage is typically applied to protect the wound and reduce swelling. Stitches may be removed within a week, and swelling should continue to decrease for the first few weeks.
With proper healing, the area should return to a fairly normal appearance within 4-8 weeks. Your specific recovery time line will be discussed following the procedure.
Will there be scarring from skin cancer removal?
Scarring is dependent on the size of the lesion and the location of the procedure. Incision lines will be hidden in the natural lines of the body when possible. Fine external sutures will be used for minimal scarring. The incision lines caused by skin cancer removal will fade for up to a year.
How will I feel after the procedure?
Discomfort following the procedure will vary based on the size and location of the lesion. There may be some discomfort for the first few days. This can be treated with prescription medication for your comfort.
Are there any possible complications of skin cancer removal?
All potential skin cancer removal complications will be discussed in your consultation. These may include atypical skin appearance and pigmentation. As with other surgeries, there may be poor wound healing, infection and sensitivity changes.
Learn More About Skin Cancer Removal in Tampa
For more information about skin cancer removal, or to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Mosiello, call us at 813-631-1500. Our Tampa Palms office is conveniently located in New Tampa, near Wesley Chapel.