Excisions of Skin Lesion

Have you observed a lesion or growth on your skin that may need to be removed? Our dermatologists can perform an excision.

When may you need an excision?

Excision can be performed to remove both noncancerous and cancerous skin tissue.

Excision is performed when a large chunk of skin tissue, or a skin lesion, needs to be removed for medical purposes. Usually, after an unwanted mass is found on the skin, your doctor will remove the mass as well as the area around it. If you observe a new growth on your skin, tell your dermatologist here at Valley Dermatology immediately so it can be examined.

Excision can be performed for the purposes of either removal or a biopsy. If the growth is definitely noncancerous, then your excision procedure will simply be for removal purposes. If you and your doctor suspect that the growth is cancerous, it will be sent to a lab for examination. The procedure can be used to remove many levels of carcinomas, from low to high risk. There are varying levels of excisions, the more high-risk the cancer, the more invasive the excision.

What can excision be used to treat?

On top of noncancerous growths, such as moles, lesions, and tumors, excision can remove a variety of skin cancers. A noncancerous lesion can simply be removed with an excision, however, a suspected cancerous growth can be removed and examined in a biopsy.


An excision can remove the following cancers:


basal cell carcinoma


squamous cell carcinoma



Common excision procedures

There are a few common types of excisions, and they vary based on how deep into the layers of your skin the excision goes. Some excisions require stitches, some do not.


Surgical (shave) excision

This simple procedure is less invasive and expensive to perform than a full-thickness skin excision. In this procedure, your doctor removes your lesion using a sharp razor. They may also use an electrode to feather the edges of the excision site to make the scar less noticeable.


Scissor Excision

This technique is less invasive and utilizes small forceps. Your doctor will grab the skin lesion with small forceps and lightly pull it up. Small, curved scissors will be used to carefully cut around and under the lesion. You will rarely need stitches. At the end of the procedure, the medicine may be applied to the area to stop any bleeding, or the area may be treated with cautery to seal blood vessels shut.


Full-thickness excision

This type of excision is recommended for a skin lesion that is in the deeper levels of the skin, even down to the fatty layers. Usually when performed when there is a concern of skin cancer, an amount of skin the shape of an American football is removed, and the area is closed with stitches.

What does undergoing an excision look like?

Although each excision technique is different, the experience of each procedure will feel similar.

  1. Your dermatologist will walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  2. You and your doctor will make any necessary physical preparations, and the excision site will be sterilized.
  3. You may receive some type of numbing medicine (anesthetic) before the procedure.
  4. Your doctor will perform the excision, either with a razor, scissors, laser, or electrical current.
  5. The wound is sealed, and you are given your after-care instructions.
  6. If you received an excision biopsy, the sample will be sent to a laboratory to be examined by a pathologist if your doctor suspects the growth is cancerous.

What could you expect after the procedure?

Complications associated with a surgical excision include scarring, bleeding or swelling at the affected site, pain, infection, nerve damage and incision opening after surgery

  • How can you care for the wound after the procedure to ensure the best healing result?
  • Keep excision site dry for 24 hours
  • Remove or change your bandage according to your doctor’s instructions
  • Keep the site covered in the sunlight
  • What you can take for pain
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to promote healing
  • The affected site may be red and inflamed for up to a month but will get lighter over time.

If you see signs of infection or experience severe pain, call your doctor.

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3911 Castlevale Rd, Suite 301
Yakima, Washington 98902


 (509) 966 7899

Monday – Thursday:
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