WHAT IS SKIN CANCER SURGERY?
The surgeons at Arizona Premier Surgery perform surgical procedures to treat a number of common conditions, as well as surgery to remove cancerous and precancerous skin growths. If a patient has been diagnosed with skin cancer, such as Melanoma, Basal Cell Carcinoma, or Squamous Cell, our surgeons have the expertise to safely and effectively excise the lesion. When skin cancer is being addressed, the growth will be removed along with bordering tissue, which may appear normal. The removed tissue is sent to our partnering pathology lab for further assessment. If additional surgery is needed, further consultation with the patient will explain the next steps. The highly skilled and surgically trained physicians at our greater Phoenix area surgery centers can perform surgical excisions for both small and large growths on the skin. We work together with your dermatologist or oncologist to make sure the best possible outcome is achieved, both in terms of a successful removal, as well as minimizing scarring.
HOW DOES THIS SURGICAL PROCEDURE WORK?
Surgical excision of skin cancer can be considered minimally invasive in most cases. However, depending on how large or advanced the lesion is, general anesthesia may be required. Prior to surgery, your surgeon will thoroughly clean and sanitize the treatment area and administer either local anesthesia to numb the area on and around the lesion, or use another form of anesthesia. The cancer will first be removed using a scalpel with horizontal cuts around the lesion, including the surrounding healthy tissue.
Minor excisions will be carefully sutured closed. Cancerous lesions that require a deeper or larger excision may require a skin graft or a flap to successfully close the area so that the surface can appear as normal and even as possible. Topical medications will be applied to stop any bleeding and an antibiotic ointment will be used to accelerate the healing process. Finally, a sterile cloth will be applied to securely cover and shield the wound from infection.
HOW LONG DOES SKIN CANCER SURGERY TAKE?
If local anesthesia is used for the surgical excision, a patient will not feel pain throughout the procedure. A slight pressure or pushing sensation can usually be felt while the incisions are being made, and while this can be uncomfortable for some individuals, it is not painful. Surgery time is dependent on the location and size of the growth, the patient’s overall health, and how much tissue must be removed during the excision process. If the cancer is deep within the skin, a wider border of the healthy skin will need to be taken. The suturing process will be extended in this case.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT WITH THE RECOVERY PROCESS?
Following surgical excision of skin cancer, patients may be advised to take an over-the-counter medication to help minimize discomfort. Most patients will not feel pain, however, if a sizable lesion was removed, a burning sensation or general discomfort may be felt in the first several days of healing. Patients can also expect some swelling and redness over a few days. Once the bandages are removed, scar care post-op treatment will begin almost immediately, utilizing special medicated creams and ointments to help treat the incision and minimize scarring as much as possible. It is important to cover the treated area with a bandage, sunscreen, or clothing before going into the sun as sun exposure can create a discolored scar. Overall, recovery and downtime generally depend on the extent of the excision and the location of the treatment.
SKIN CANCER SURGERY FAQ’s
How do I know when I need skin cancer surgery?
There are several symptoms associated with skin cancer, depending on the type that you have. For patients with a history of skin cancer, it is important to undergo regular skin cancer screenings to detect it as early as possible. Prior to undergoing skin cancer surgery, you may need to have a skin biopsy to determine if cancer cells are present.
What happens if skin cancer goes untreated?
Depending on the type of skin cancer you have, if it goes untreated, it can spread to other areas of the body. This can ultimately lead to many other health problems and even death if proper steps aren’t taken. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, it is important to undergo treatment as soon as possible.
Will I need a follow-up appointment after surgery?
After skin cancer surgery, you will need to attend a follow-up appointment to make sure you are healing properly. We will inspect the site and remove any stitches if necessary. Our team will also provide any necessary aftercare instructions to help minimize scarring as much as possible.
DO YOU NEED TO SCHEDULE A SKIN CANCER SCREENING?
If you have a growth on the skin that looks abnormal or one that has been diagnosed as precancerous or as skin cancer, surgical removal may be necessary. At Arizona Premier Surgery in Scottsdale, Chandler, and Gilbert, AZ, our seasoned and trusted surgeons use advanced surgical methods to remove the cancer before it spreads while evaluating other aspects of the surrounding tissue to ensure a healthy outcome is achieved. Meet with a trained medical professional to examine the growth, and trust the removal of the growth to the surgeons at Arizona Premier Surgery, serving the greater Phoenix area.