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Reasons for Procedure
- Lesion is precancerous or cancerous
- Lesion has created a chronic skin irritation
- Cosmetic preference
- Changes in skin color
- Poor wound healing
- Nerve damage
- Recurrence of the lesion
- Bleeding disorders
- Circulatory problems
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Description of the Procedure
- Removal with scalpel—The lesion is cut away with a surgical knife.
- Laser surgery—A high-energy beam destroys skin tissue.
- Electrosurgery—This is the use of an electrical current to selectively destroy skin tissue.
- Cryosurgery—A cold liquid or instrument is used to freeze and remove the lesion.
- Curettage—This is the scraping of the skin with a circular cutting loop instrument.
- Mohs micrographic surgery—This is used to examine suspected cancerous lesions. Small pieces of tissue are successively removed and then viewed microscopically for signs of cancer. The goal is to get all the cancer tissue and leave as much healthy tissue as possible.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you've been given
- New or worsening symptoms
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
Skin Cancer Foundation http://www.skincancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Diagnostic tests for skin disorders. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic%5Fdisorders/approach%5Fto%5Fthe%5Fdermatologic%5Fpatient/diagnostic%5Ftests%5Ffor%5Fskin%5Fdisorders.html. Updated September 2013. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Melanoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 5, 2014. Accessed September 29, 2014.
Pickett H. Shave and punch biopsy for skin lesions. Am Fam Physician. 2011;84(9):995-1002.
6/3/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, et al. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -