It’s been a few months since the growth appeared on your skin. At first, it didn’t bother you much. But it’s gotten bigger, and you’re beginning to worry that it’s going to attract attention or, even worse, that it’s something more serious than just a bump. It’s time to consider your options. As you meet with your dermatologist, you will want to consider the many benefits of surgical treatment. Surgery may sound scary, but it is often your best course of action, ensuring that your skin stays healthy and beautiful.
Dermatologists typically recommend surgery if the growth is suspected to be cancerous or precancerous (meaning it could develop into cancer). As you probably know, cancer is not something to mess around with – especially skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 9,500 people diagnosed with skin cancer each day in the United States. Non-melanoma skin cancer affects more than 3 million Americans each year.
How do we combat such sobering statistics? By early detection and early skin cancer treatment, like removal of certain skin growths. The two most common types of skin cancer, squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas, are highly curable if found early and treated correctly. Treatment of these cancers usually involves surgical removal of the carcinoma growths. If detected early enough, basal cell carcinoma can be removed during your appointment with your dermatologist. This surgical procedure stops the cancer from growing too deep and affecting other parts of your body. The same is true if your dermatologist recommends removing a suspicious mole. It can be quickly removed in one office visit.
Many surgical procedures have been developed to ensure that the threat of cancer is eliminated. One such procedure is Mohs skin cancer surgery, an outpatient treatment which involves removing tissue layer by layer to ensure all cancerous cells are extracted. With such a careful surgery, your susceptibility to cancer is greatly reduced and the least amount of tissue is removed as needed, diminishing scarring on the skin area that is treated.
When you hear “surgery”, you probably think of general anesthesia, invasive procedures, and a lot of blood. But there are many non-invasive and simple surgical procedures. A shave excision is one of those. Whether you have a mole, keloid, tumor, skin tag, or lesion, your dermatologist may be able to perform a shave excision.
A shave excision is a relatively pain-free removal of your skin growth using a sharp razor. Typically your dermatologist will use local anesthesia to numb the area. As they excise the growth, you may feel pressure, but no pain. They may use electrosurgical feathering around the excision site to minimize scarring and eliminate any cells around the growth that could be problematic. You will not need stitches with a shave excision. Instead, your dermatologist may use a chemical to help stop any bleeding and will then apply an antibiotic cream and a bandage to prevent infection. Your growth will probably be sent to a lab to be evaluated for possible cancer.
And that’s it! Your growth has been removed, your fears calmed, and your skin returned to its healthy self.
While your dermatologist may determine that your skin growth poses no threat of cancer, you may still decide to get it removed because it is uncomfortable to you either physically or cosmetically. Whether you are looking for mole removal or lipoma excision, surgery is an excellent option for restoring your skin to a comfortable state. The confidence you have in your skin is a part of your job performance, your social involvement, and your sense of self. Dermatological surgery can provide you with the sense of dignity that is so important for you to function well in your world.
Do you have a growth that you need examined? Are you considering surgical options for skin treatment? Call Vanguard Dermatology in the greater New York City area to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled dermatologists. Together we can determine the best course of action for a healthy and worry-free you.