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Surgical Excisions: Dermatology & Skin Health

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At Dermatology & Skin Health, our world-class team of dermatologists, surgeons, and medical providers can conduct thorough physical examinations. But in case of a skin lesion or any cancerous tissue on your body, one potential treatment is to remove the cancerous cells and their surrounding healthy skin as soon as possible. Through surgical excisions, the risks and long-term effects of cancer can be minimized while preventing the spread and development of more dangerous forms of skin cancer. 

What is surgical excision?

Also known as an excisional biopsy, surgical excision is a procedure that removes cells or samples of skin from the surface of the body. During an excisional surgery, a scalpel will be used by our medical providers in order to remove a lump or an entire area of abnormal skin and its surrounding tissue. A small portion of normal skin down to or through a fatty layer of skin will also be removed for the sample. 

To minimize the pain and discomfort of excision surgery, you’ll receive general anesthesia beforehand to numb the area. The numbing medication may cause a temporary burning sensation, but this will fade after a few seconds. With the biopsy site numb, you shouldn't feel any discomfort or pain during the procedure. Stitches may be needed to close the wound and adhesive bandages will be placed over the excision to prevent bleeding and protect the wound.

Through our biopsy, we can determine if you have skin cancer cells even at their earliest stages. From there, we can provide skin cancer treatment to destroy the cancer cells before it spreads to other healthy skin cells or, for cases of melanoma, other internal organs. 

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At Dermatology & Skin Health, we offer world-class services done by award-winning doctors who have proven their knowledge and skills in this field. Start your journey towards achieving your best skin by contacting us today.

Why are they done?

Skin biopsies are performed for skin cancer screening to rule out or diagnose serious skin conditions and diseases. Skin lesions can also be removed with this procedure. Getting a surgical excision can be extremely helpful and necessary for diagnosing:

  • Basal cell carcinoma – a type of skin cancer that’s often caused by exposure to the sun. The most common form of skin cancer, it’s highly treatable and rarely spreads beyond the surrounding healthy tissue. But if left untreated, it can cause lasting disfiguration. 
  • Squamous cell carcinoma – another common form of skin cancer, but this time caused by UV ray exposure from tanning beds or the sun. A slow-growing cancer cell, though it’s possible for it to spread down to the deeper layers of skin and the other parts of the body. 
  • Melanoma – cancer cells that develop from your skin’s pigment from frequent UV rays exposure. The most dangerous type of skin cancer, it’s curable if it’s caught and treated in its earlier stages. 
  • Moles – some forms of melanoma can be mistaken for a mole or can be found inside a mole. Performing biopsies on new moles can accurately check if it’s a cancerous mole or a benign one. 
  • Warts – warts rarely ever develop and become cancerous. However, biopsies are still done on certain types of genital warts if they look like moles or cancerous formations. 
  • Actinic keratosis – you may develop this condition after frequent exposure to UV rays. While not necessarily cancerous, if left untreated, it can develop into squamous cell carcinoma. 
  • Dermatitis – some cases of dermatitis can’t be distinguished during a physical exam or patch test. To rule out potential cancerous cells, your dermatologist can recommend undergoing a biopsy. 
  • Psoriasis – in cases where your doctor needs to rule out other symptoms, they may require a biopsy to confirm if it’s psoriasis. 

Excisional biopsy and incisional biopsy

When the entire tumor is removed, the procedure is called an excisional biopsy. If only a portion of the tumor is removed, the procedure is referred to as an incisional biopsy. In general, excisional biopsy is the preferred method when melanoma is suspected.

Also called a wide local excision, an excisional biopsy involves surgical removal of a tumor and also some normal tissue around it. The amount of normal tissue taken (also called the clinical margin) depends on the thickness of the tumor. 

In the case of possible melanoma, skin grafting, or taking skin from another part of the body to replace the skin that is removed, or rotation flaps of skin from other sites may be used to cover the wound resulting from the wide local excision. Note that most cutaneous melanoma excisions can be closed without the placement of a skin graft as well.

When can I expect the results?

After we’ve taken a skin graft, cyst, lesion, or any other type of skin growth from the treatment area, we’ll send the skin sample to a lab for testing. Results may take several days or multiple weeks to come back.

Once we have the results, an office appointment will be scheduled for you to go over the results and have the details thoroughly explained. If treatment or dermatologic surgery is needed, we’ll provide you with all your available options. We encourage you to ask as many questions as you can to get a full understanding of the results.

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Dermatology & Skin Health

At Dermatology & Skin Health, our excellent dermatology services are guaranteed to be safe and effective, performed by the top doctors in their respective fields. Treat your skin problems by contacting us today.


What are my other treatment options?

If the surgical excision results confirm cancerous tissues present, we can begin treatment as soon as possible to minimize the risks of cancer cells spreading. Dermatology & Skin Health is fully-equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and a team of seasoned medical providers to remove your cancerous cells through different methods. 

Excisional surgery can be done on all types of cancerous tissue. However, some of our other treatments include:

  • Mohs Surgery – a surgical procedure where cancerous skin tissue is progressively removed until only cancer-free skin cells remain. Often used for both basal and squamous cell carcinomas in areas where skin tissue needs to be conserved. 
  • Chemotherapy – chemotherapy drugs and topical medicines can be used to treat skin cancer. How your dermatologist will treat you can depend on whether or not the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Photodynamic therapy – your medical provider uses a combination of laser light and drugs that makes cancer cells sensitive to light and destroys them during therapy.

Schedule your appointment with a dermatologist at your nearest Dermatology & Skin Health to discuss more treatment options. 

Schedule a consultation in Seacoast, NH, or North Shore, MA

If you have skin lesions or any unusual spots on your skin that you'd like to have removed, we encourage you to book a consultation at one of our four locations. If you live in the Seacoast region or the North Shore, you can free your mind from worries by having your spots or lesions removed via surgical excision or other means. During your consultation, our team of experts will be more than happy to determine which treatment options are best for you.

We have four locations: Dover, Newington, Londonderry, NH, and Peabody, MA. You can schedule your comprehensive skin checks in any of these locations. To set up your appointment, request one online or give us a call at (603) 742-5556 (Dover & Newington), (978) 525-0100 (Peabody), (603) 965-3551 (Londonderry), or (603) 742-5556 (Bedford).