American Society of Plastic Surgeons
Member Log In
For Medical Professionals
 

Skin Cancer Removal

Treatment Goals

Surgically removing cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve your health and your appearance.

Skin cancer removal procedure steps

Depending on the size, type and location of the lesion, there are many ways to remove skin cancer and reconstruct your appearance if necessary.

The following are some of the possible procedure steps involved in skin cancer removal surgery:

Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include local, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – Removal

A small or contained lesion may be removed with excision – a simple surgical process to remove the lesion from the skin. Closure is most often performed in conjunction with excision.

Skin cancer lesion removal

Skin cancer can be like an iceberg. What is visible on the skin surface sometimes is only a small portion of the growth.

Beneath the skin, the cancerous cells cover a much larger region and there are no defined borders. In these cases, your plastic surgeon may use frozen sections during the removal of your skin cancer to discover and define the borders of the cancerous area. Frozen sections are small parts of the tissue that are removed and immediately sent to the pathologist. These pieces of tissue are then quickly frozen so that he or she can examine them for cancer cells at the time of removal of the cancer. This helps your plastic surgeon to make sure that all of the cancer has been removed.

Alternatively, your plastic surgeon may recommend a specialized technique called Mohs surgery. This procedure may be performed by your plastic surgeon, or you may be referred to a surgeon that specializes in this procedure.

Mohs surgery is a procedure that is performed through the use of multiple specially prepared frozen sections. The goal is to look for a clear margin – an area where the skin cancer has not spread. If clear margins are found, the resulting wound can be reconstructed. If clear margins are not present, the surgeon will remove more tissue until the entire region has a clear margin.

Step 3 – Reconstruction

A skin cancer lesion that is particularly large, is being removed with frozen sections or is likely to cause disfigurement may be reconstructed with a local flap.

Healthy, adjacent tissue is repositioned over the wound. The suture line is positioned to follow the natural creases and curves of the face if possible, to minimize the obviousness of the resulting scar.

Skin cancer removal local flap

Your surgeon may choose to treat your wound with a skin graft instead of a local flap. A skin graft is a thin bit of skin removed from one area of the body and relocated to the wound site.

Step 4 – See the results

After your skin cancer has been removed and any primary reconstruction is completed, a dressing or bandages will be applied to your incisions. Get more information on skin cancer removal results.



Logo

Surgeons In Your Area

Gloria Duda Headshot

Gloria Duda, MD

6845 Elm Street Suite 708
McLean, VA 22101

(703) 893-1111

Roberta Gartside Headshot

Roberta Gartside, MD

1300 Chain Bridge Road The Magassey Building
McLean, VA 22101

(703) 204-2706

Timothy Mountcastle Headshot

Timothy Mountcastle, MD

44095 Pipeline Plaza Suite 430
Ashburn, VA 20147

(703) 8583208

Michael Brown Headshot

Michael Brown, MD

45155 Research Place Suite 125
Ashburn, VA 20147

(703) 726-1175

Haven Barlow Headshot

Haven Barlow, MD

802 Bestgate Road Suite A
Annapolis, MD 21401
David Berman Headshot

David Berman, MD

14 Pigeon Hill Drive Suite 100
Sterling, VA 20165

(703) 406-2444

Shlomo Widder Headshot

Shlomo Widder, MD

8230 Leesburg Pike Suite 630
Vienna, VA 22182

(703) 506-0300

Wendy Gottlieb Headshot

Wendy Gottlieb, MD

1800 Town Center Drive Suite 418
Reston, VA 20190

(703) 668-9499

Logo

Patient Care Center