Skin Cancer Surgery

Our doctors are skilled to perform simple and advanced excisions including flap surgeries and graft surgeries under local anaesthetic at The Melanoma Centre.

Simple Excision
The majority of skin cancers can simply be cut out (excised) using an elliptical excision, and the resultant wound or defect sutured (stitched) together. This is performed under local anaesthetic in the operating theatre at The Melanoma Centre.

Flap Surgery
Some skin cancers cannot be easily removed using a simple excision with an ellipse. These may require a plastic surgical technique called flap surgery.

Graft Surgery
Another plastic surgical technique, called grafting, may be necessary to close some wounds created by cutting out the skin cancer or melanoma. Skin grafting involves harvesting skin from a separate donor site and then transferring it to the site of the skin cancer excision (recipient site).

A biopsy is performed to take a sample of suspicious skin. After injecting local anaesthetic the concerning skin is either shaved (shave biopsy), similar to peeling a carrot, or punched (punch biopsy) using a hollow, cylindrical tube like a tiny apple corer. The specimen is then sent to specialist pathologists for assessment and diagnosis. This is called a histology report. Unless a mole is extremely large, moles are never PARTIALLY biopsied. Where possible, a mole is always COMPLETELY biopsied at The Melanoma Centre. Partial biopsy of a mole may “miss” the cancerous or malignant part of the mole and result in misdiagnosis.

Electrodessication and Curettage
Electrodessication involves using a hyfrecator to directly destroy certain types of superficial skin cancers and then removing the cancer in a scraping action with a small, spoon shaped surgical instrument known as a curette.

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