What Are The Surgical Methods Used To Remove Skin Cancer

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If you're worried that you might have skin cancer, or are already diagnosed, then you will want to learn about the different surgical methods of removing the cancer. It is a scary disease, but luckily, skin cancer has a high survival rate as long as it is treated early.

The important thing to understand is that the cancer needs to be treated. If left untreated, the cancer can spread. When cancer metastasis, it spreads to other areas of the body. This can lead to brain, lymph node, or bone cancer.

If you have skin cancer, it will be removed via one of three methods. Here is a description of the three skin cancer surgery methods.


The most basic surgery is called an excision. The surgeon will circle the cancer with a surgical pen. They will then use a scalpel and cut out the cancer and also a bit of healthy tissue. This healthy skin is called the "margin". The phrase margin refers to the term "safety margin". The goal is to remove all of the cancerous tissue and, as a safety precaution, also remove some healthy tissue just in case it has cancerous cells.

An excision can be done in-office and under mild anesthesia. This can be done in your dermatologist's office. It is not something that will require extensive prep work and recovery.

Mohs Surgery

A normal excision surgery works by guesswork. The visible cancerous material is removed, and a bit extra is also removed to be safe. However, the surgeon, or dermatologist is not positive if the cancer is all gone. Mohs surgery fixes this problem.

Mohs surgery involves a slow process whereby each bit of removed tissue is examined under a microscope. The technician determines if the tissue sample has any cancer. The surgeon will continue to remove skin until there is no sign of cancer. The only trouble with Mohs surgery is that you need to find a dermatologist that is certified to diagnose cancerous cells under a microscope.

Curettage and Electrodesiccation

This method of cancer removal involves scraping and burning the cancer, and this is best for small cancers that are not deep. If the cancerous cells extend deep into the skin, then this method is not ideal, because the scraping won't penetrate deep into the tissue. It is only designed to handle surface cells. The procedure does not require anesthesia or an overnight stay. Once the procedure is done, all you need is a covering and some ointment.