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General Mass Excision


What you need to know about a general mass excision:

Excision is surgery to remove a mass, such as a tumor. Excision may be done for a diagnosis or for treatment. Removal may be the only treatment needed, or may be part of your treatment plan.

How to prepare for surgery:

  • Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home after you are discharged.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • Tell your surgeon about all your allergies, including to anesthesia or antibiotics.
  • You may need an ultrasound, CT, or MRI. These or other tests can help your surgeon learn more about the mass. This will help him or her plan your surgery more easily.

What will happen during surgery:

  • Depending on the kind of surgery you have, you may need general, local, or regional anesthesia. General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Local anesthesia numbs the surgery area. Regional anesthesia numbs an area of your body. With local or regional anesthesia, you may feel some pressure, but you should not feel pain.
  • Your surgeon may make an incision in the skin over the mass. He or she may instead make several small incisions. Surgery is done with tools put into the small incisions. Your surgeon will remove the mass with a knife, laser, or other tool. He or she may need to remove some tissue around the mass. This is done to make sure all of the mass is removed. Some or all of the mass may be sent to a lab to be tested for cancer or other problems.
  • The surgery area may be closed with stitches, staples, or medical tape. This depends on where the mass was and how large an area was removed. Your surgeon may also need to repair tissue near the mass after it is removed. This may help improve the appearance or function of the surgery area. The area may be covered with a bandage to keep it clean and to prevent an infection.

What to expect after surgery:

  • You may have some bleeding or bruising in the surgery area. This is expected and should get better in a few days.
  • You may be given medicine to prevent or treat pain or an infection.
  • You may need to meet with a healthcare provider to get diagnosis results. Your provider may want to make a treatment plan based on the results.

Risks of a general mass excision:

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Nerves or tissues may be damaged. It may not be possible to remove all of the mass. If the mass is cancer, some of the cells left in your body may grow or spread. The mass may come back after surgery. You may develop a life-threatening blood clot. You may have permanent scars in the surgery area.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You are bleeding more than you were told to expect, even when you apply pressure.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You see signs of infection in the surgery area, such as redness, swelling, or pus.
  • Your pain is not getting better or is getting worse, even with pain medicine.
  • You suddenly have severe pain in the surgery area.
  • Your stitches come apart.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help prevent or fight a bacterial infection.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Rest as needed. You may feel like resting more than usual for a few days after surgery. You will also need to walk around to prevent blood clots. Your healthcare provider will tell you how much activity is okay while you heal.
  • Ask when you can return to your usual daily activities. Your provider will tell you when you can drive, return to work or school, or do other activities. Do not play sports, exercise, or lift anything heavy until your provider says it is okay.
  • Keep the surgery area clean and dry. Do not go swimming or soak in a hot tub or bath. Your provider will give you instructions for bathing. He or she may tell you it is okay to take a shower the day after surgery. You may need to keep the surgery area covered while you bathe.
  • Care for the surgery area as directed. If the incision was closed with surgical tape, the strips will fall off on their own within 10 days. Do not pull them off. You may need to wash the surgery area with soap and water. Your provider will tell you if you should do this, and when. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

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.

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