Dermatologic Surgery

The type of surgery used to remove the skin cancer depends on the type of skin cancer, its size and its location. Your provider will consider these factors, as well as your personal needs and wellbeing while working with you to designate the best option from these and other oncologic treatment modalities. The standard of care for a melanoma or non-melanoma skin cancer involving most areas of the body involves a carefully planned surgical excision of the skin cancer. This procedure is performed in-office under local anesthesia (the involved area is numbed). The tumor, itself, is removed, along with a margin of normal skin. Your provider will then counsel you on your follow up care and place sutures which are typically removed 1-2 weeks after your procedure. Alternatively, when surgical excision is not indicated, electrodessication and curettage may be performed for specific skin cancer pathologies. Your doctor uses local anesthesia before scraping the the cancer cells with a small curette. The involved tissue is then cauterized and the process may be repeated 1-2 times before your wound is dressed. No sutures are necessary for this approach, eliminating the need for immediate follow up care. However, your doctor will want to monitor your healing process and will follow up as your surgical site heals.