Excision of a melanoma is a type of surgery to remove, or excise, a melanoma from your skin. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer in which abnormal skin cells grow out of control.
The doctor first gives you medicine to numb the area. Then he or she cuts out the melanoma along with an area of healthy skin around it. How much healthy skin is needed depends on how deep in the skin the melanoma is. Small excisions are usually closed with stitches. A larger excision, or one on the hand or face, may need a skin graft to close the wound. A skin graft is a very thin sheet of healthy skin taken from another part of the body to replace the skin that was removed.
The surgery usually takes up to an hour. You will probably go home soon afterwards. You may have a scar. The scar should fade with time.
If you have a skin graft, the surgery may take longer. You will probably go home 1 to 2 hours later.
You may need other tests and treatments, depending on how large or deep the melanoma is.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine
& Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Randall D. Burr, MD - Dermatology
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