Outpatient surgical removal of skin tumours
Detection and removal of skin tumours requires close cooperation between the dermatologist and the surgeon. Let’s look at the ways and steps to surgically remove suspected skin lesions.
Go for dermatological screening every year!
Early detection is very important as a first step, and dermatologists recommend removal of suspected lesions during yearly screening.
A group of skin tumours does not, or only rarely, produces metastases, such as basal cell carcinoma and spinal cord carcinoma, which affect the older generation, especially those over the age of 60. melanoma, which originates from pigment cells and affects a very large number of young people (one of the leaders in the population under 40), is an aggressive type of cancer and often produces metastases. The incidence of melanoma is increasing by 3% per year. The chance of its development in our lifetime is 2.5%.
Removal should be done by surgeon!
The treatment strategy is basically determined by the type of tumour, but this is only known after removal from the histological findings. So our dermatologist can’t say for sure if we have cancer and if so what type! We can know this for sure only after surgical removal and histology.
There are places on our body (such as on the face or over the bones) where it is more difficult to perform an excision at sufficient depth and width, but this is very important because only properly excised skin lesions provide a good basis for histological examination.
If the histology confirms a malignant tumour, then a so-called security excision is required, which means that a larger, wider excision is made on the skin. It is a common misconception that this is necessary because the surgeon did not perform the first excision correctly, but this is not the case. The first excision gives the diagnosis, if a malignant lesion is confirmed, a second, larger excision is always necessary. In the case of early discovered upper layer lesions, it is almost certain that there is no metastasis and that everything will be fine after the second cut, but examinations and lifelong controlled dermatological examinations may still be necessary in this case.
If a larger, more extensive tumour is confirmed, it may be necessary to undergo anaesthesia surgery, lymph node removal, which is no longer performed on an outpatient basis, but in a hospital setting.
How is outpatient excision performed?
The surgeon performs the intervention under local anaesthesia, and the patient does not feel any pain after the injection. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes.
The skin is stitched by the surgeons according to a plastic surgery protocol in our surgery to ensure the best wound healing and the smallest scar. These wounds usually heal nicely and complications are very rare.
What to look after removal?
In order for our wounds to heal nicely and without problems, observe the following:
- Do not exercise for 2 weeks after surgery, protect the wound from stretching.
- Soaking the wound (bath, sauna) is prohibited for 1 month.
- It is possible to take a shower after 5 days.
- For 1 year, we can only go out to the sun with SPF 50 sunscreen, but it is better if we can cover the wound so that it is not exposed to sunlight.
- If we feel necessary, we can use wound treatment creams available without prescription, but they have to be used twice a day for a minimum of six months, otherwise they do nothing.
At our specialist clinics we meet patients on a daily basis for whom the dermatologist recommends an excision. Generally speaking, health conscious patients who regularly attend screenings have very good uncomplicated healing rates. If your dermatologist has found a suspicious mole, do not delay the surgical intervention, book an appointment at +36 1 225 0566!
Author: Gergely Oláh MD