Surgical Dermatology

Skin Surgery

Many types of skin growths can be easily removed in the dermatologist’s office through simple skin surgery which is a minor outpatient procedure.  Growths and tumors may be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous) so a biopsy and microscopic examination should always be performed.  If a growth is determined to be malignant, further definitive treatment is required.

Depending on the type of lesion, your dermatologist will decide to either perform a tangential excision in which the growth is shaved off or planed down with a blade. In this case, no sutures are placed and the wound heals naturally just as a scrape or cut would.   Alternatively, a deeper elliptical excision may be performed with a scalpel and suture closure.  This is required for deeper growths including some types of moles and nodules.  Some limitations will be placed on your exertional activity after the surgery but there is generally no other major down time associated with simple surgery.

Most skin surgery will result in small line scars that can sometimes be associated with pigmentation especially in ethnic skin.  In patients prone to keloids , raised scars may develop and can subsequently be treated with steroid injections.  Stretching of scars is not uncommon on the trunk and especially the back given the vectors of forces derive from back movements and stretching.

If you develop a growth or nodule on your skin, it is important to have it evaluated promptly and if there is ongoing growth or change, a biopsy must be performed.  Examples of common benign and malignant growths include:


Benign Skin Growths                                                      Malignant Skin Cancers

Seborrheic Keratosis                                                      Basal Cell Carcinoma

Warts                                                                                    Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Cysts                                                                                     Melanoma



Pyogenic Granuloma