Skin Cancer Procedures

Their purpose

Surgery is the most common way to treat and remove skin cancer. There are various techniques, each dictated by the size and type of the growth.

It is important to note that Melanoma is an uncommon but serious skin cancer that is best detected and treated early. Melanoma often presents as a black skin lesion with irregular edges and a patchy coloured surface. It may also be raw and fleshy and rapidly enlarging.

Regular "Mole Mapping" is a good way to detect moles that have changed for the worse or new suspicious skin lesions.

What happens

Small cancers are usually removed using a simple surgical process. Your surgeon will remove the lesion and also some normal surrounding skin to make sure that the cancer is fully gone. There will be some stitches, which can be removed after a week to 14 days, although your surgeon may use dissolving stitches that won’t have to be taken out.

With larger or spreading tumours, it can be necessary to remove a larger area of skin, which may mean that you need a skin graft or skin flap. These special Plastic Surgical techniques are used to ensure complete removal of the skin cancer and to return the patient's normal appearance and function.

Alternatives to skin cancer surgeries include currettage and electrocautery-scraping away the cancer cells and using electrical heat to prevent bleeding.

In simple cases these techniques may offer a safe means of removing the minimum of healthy tissue whilst effectively removing skin cancer.

Freezing with liquid nitrogen and the use of anti-skin cancer creams such as Aldara and or Effudix may also be effective non-surgical skin cancer treatments.

Minor procedures are usually done using local anaesthetic and you will be able to go home the same day. Larger operations involving a skin graft or flap would mean a longer stay in hospital.


When you return home, the wound will have a dressing and we will make sure you know how to take care of the area as you recover.