Surgical Removal of Growths and Lesions
Although many skin growths may be perfectly benign, they can also be unsightly, or even cause pain, or other functional impairments. And with some growths, such as malignant melanoma, rapid removal is of primary importance, due to the risk of metastasis and invasion of vital organs. Whether you are concerned about removing a cancerous lesion, or simply have a benign growth that is aesthetically unappealing or causes you discomfort, surgical removal is often an effective and definitive treatment.
If you are concerned about a skin lesion or irregularity, Dr. Jamie L. McGinness can help. Dr. McGinness is a Board certified dermatologist specializing in the treatment of skin cancer, specifically with Mohs surgery, an advanced, highly effective technique that has up to a 99% cure rate! In fact, Dr. McGinness is the only Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon in the Metro East Illinois St. Louis area. Dr. McGinness does not offer “cookie-cutter”, one-size-fits-all treatment plans. Instead, he takes the time to get to know you and your medical history and background in order to ensure that the treatment approach he develops for you will have the greatest possible chances of success.
Is Surgical Removal Right for Me?
Depending on the nature of the growth or lesion in question, as well as its location, you may consider having it surgically removed, or “excised”. Most abnormal skin lesions can be excised using only local anesthetics, during an out-patient appointment. There are three basic types of excisional surgery:
- Shave removal—this surgical technique is typically used for raised growths, such as raised moles. After injecting local anesthetic under the growth to mitigate any discomfort, the growth is removed very sharp razor along the surface of the skin. Stitches are not needed, and some slight scarring or redness may be expected at the surgical site.
- Scissor excision or snip excision—this technique is also used for raised lesions, such as skin tags. In this process, following injection of local anesthetic, the growth is firmly secured by a pair of forceps, and gently pulled away from the body. A small set of curved scissors lightly snips away the growth, cutting both under and around the region. Stitches are not needed following this surgery, and scarring is generally minimal.
- Full excision—complete removal of the tumor is typically used for growths that have penetrated the deeper levels of the dermis or tumors that are malignant, such as in the case of melanoma. The procedure may be done under local anesthetic, depending on the location and depth of the tumor. Full excisional surgery involves cutting an elliptical incision around the lesion, penetrating the fatty tissue beneath the growth in order to fully excise it. A margin of healthy tissue will typically be taken from around the edges of the growth, and later analyzed by pathology to determine if all of the abnormal cells have been removed. The elliptical wound is then sewn together with sutures. Healing time will vary greatly depending on the size and location of the lesion being excised. For melanoma that is surgically removed in its pre-metastatic stages, full surgical removal is often an effective means of eradicating the cancerous cells.
Contact Dr. Jamie L. McGinness
Dr. Jamie L. McGinness is a Board certified dermatologist and the only Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon currently serving the Metro East Illinois St. Louis area. His dedication to excellence in patience care is backed by years of specialized training and coupled with the same compassion, caring, and personalized attention you expect from your family doctor. His goal is to work closely with you, your dermatologist (if you have one), and your primary care physician to develop a personalized course of dermatologic treatment designed to successfully address your specific health concerns.
If you are concerned about a growth or lesion and believe you may be a candidate for excisional surgery, we encourage you to contact Dr. McGinness and schedule your consultation today.