What is excision of a melanoma?
Excision of a melanoma is a type of surgery to remove, or excise, a melanoma from your teen's skin. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer in which abnormal skin cells grow out of control. Sometimes the surgery is simple. But some melanomas need more extensive surgery.
The doctor first gives your teen medicine to numb the area. Then the doctor cuts out the melanoma along with an area of healthy skin around it. How much skin is needed depends on how deep in the skin the melanoma is. Small excisions are usually closed with stitches. Some excisions, such as on the hands or face, may be closed with a skin flap using nearby skin.
A larger excision may need a skin graft to close the wound. For a skin graft, a section of healthy skin is taken from another part of the body. Then the healthy skin is used to replace the skin that was removed.
The surgery usually takes up to an hour. Your teen will probably go home soon afterward. There may be a scar. The scar should fade with time.
If your teen has a skin graft or more extensive surgery, the surgery may take longer. Your teen may be able to go home the same day. But your teen may need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer.
Your teen may need other tests and treatments. It depends on how large or deep the melanoma is.
Follow-up care is a key part of your teen's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your teen is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your teen's test results and keep a list of the medicines your teen takes.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Surgery can be stressful for your teen and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your teen's surgery.
Preparing for surgery
- Make sure you have someone to drive your teen home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for your teen to drive.
- Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
- Tell your doctors ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies your teen takes. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia. Your doctor will tell you which medicines your teen should take or stop before surgery.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter M250 in the search box to learn more about "Melanoma Excision: Before Your Teen's Surgery".