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Excision of Skin Lesion


What you need to know about excision of a skin lesion:

Excision of a skin lesion is surgery to remove a piece of skin tissue. The skin tissue may be malignant (skin cancer) or it may be benign. Benign means the skin tissue does not have cancer cells and cannot spread.

How to prepare for excision of a skin lesion:

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection.

What will happen during excision of a skin lesion:

You will be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any sharp pain. Your healthcare provider will mark the area of your skin that will be removed. He will make an incision on the marked area. He will remove the outer layer of your skin. He may also remove deeper layers of tissue underneath your skin. He may use heat to stop any bleeding. He will close the incision with stitches, staples, tissue glue, or medical tape. He may cover your incision with a bandage. Your healthcare provider may send samples of your tissue to the lab for tests.

What will happen after excision of a skin lesion:

Your stitches will need to be removed after a period of time. The amount of time depends on the part of the body where the surgery was done. Stitches on the face will be removed within 5 to 7 days. Stitches on the trunk of your body will be removed within 7 to 10 days. Stitches on your arms or legs will be removed within 10 to 14 days. Medical tape usually falls off on its own in about 7 to 10 days.

Risks of excision of a skin lesion:

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may lose feeling, or you may feel tingling or prickling in the surgery area. Your scar may not look the way you expected. It may also limit your movement or affect your expressions if you had surgery on your face.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your stitches come apart and the wound opens.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have pain in your incision that does not get better with medicine.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, bleeding, or draining pus.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care for your wound as directed:

Carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty. You may take a shower 24 hours after your surgery. Do not soak in water (bathtub, hot tub, swimming pool) until after your stitches have been removed. Check your wound for signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or pus drainage.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You will need to return to have your stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Excision of Skin Lesion (Ambulatory Care)

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