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Excision of Skin Lesion

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What do I 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 do I prepare for excision of a skin lesion?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Your provider will tell you which 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. Your provider will make an incision on the marked area and then remove the outer layer of your skin. Deeper layers of tissue underneath your skin may also be removed. Your provider may use heat to stop any bleeding. The incision may be closed with stitches, staples, tissue glue, or medical tape. Your incision may be covered with a bandage. Your healthcare provider may send samples of your tissue to a 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.

What are the 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.