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What is an excision surgery like?

How can one prepare for excision and what should they expect?

  1. This is a great question. The excision surgeries I’ve had in my dermatologist’s office are surprisingly fast. The physician’s assistant has me sign the authorization and acknowledgment of ‘what can happen’, then she takes a photo of the area to be removed. My doctor then marks the area that she will be removing. Then come the numbing shots. The last excision I had required 11 shots. My doctor started with 8, but I still had feeling in the area when she tested to see if I did. Once I was completely numb, she started cutting. I couldn’t really feel that, just a slight bit of pressure. It was not uncomfortable though. Then she cauterized the blood vessels to help stop the bleeding. This part is unpleasant, because of the smell. Skin burning isn’t a good smell. Once the bleeding stopped, she started the internal stitches. My last incision was 3 inches long, so the stitching seemed to take forever. I could feel pressure with the stitches, both the internal and then the external. Once the stitching was done, the assistant put a large pressure bandage and plenty of surgical tape on the wound. I got dressed, then went to work. I was in the doctor’s office less than 30 minutes from start to finish. About four hours after the surgery, the numbing shots started wearing off so I took a few Advil. The pain was gone the next day, although I had to be careful to not do anything that would rip open the stitches for the next couple of weeks. Two weeks later the stitches came out, and the scar looked great. As far as preparing for it, when I’m having a procedure like this I keep reminding myself that ‘this time tomorrow it will be over with’ or ‘by 9:00 I’ll be at work and it will be finished’. It’s natural to have anxiety, but I’ve found that if I try to focus on something after the procedure, that helps me not dwell on the surgery itself. Hope this helps!

    1. I have had three excision surgeries, on my face, in the last few months. Mine were all done under general anesthesia. I was sore for a couple days after really not as bad as I had expected. A week to ten days later stitches were removed and healed rather quickly.. Now i am recovering from surgery in the corner of my eye it is quite bothersome because of the location.

      1. I had a wide excision on my chest along with sentinel node biopsy in my underarm. I ended up with a much larger scar than I anticipated. I had a drain in for several days and took pain meds for the first 2 days post surgery. I wish I would have asked more questions about the procedure, including whether a plastic surgeon was an option for reducing the appearance of the scar. With this being my first experience with cancer of any type, I was too shocked to consider any questions; I just wanted it gone!

        1. Thank you so much for sharing this, . It makes complete sense that you wouldn't know what to ask at first. All the more reason to share and help others think of questions to ask. Hope you are doing well now! - Nina, Team

      2. I just recently had 2 separate excisions a month apart on the same spot. It was painless other than a slight burning during the local anesthetic shots. It took about 20 min from start to finish. The surgeon used dissolvable stitches underneath the skin and steri strips to close incision. He places a water proof bandage over it and said to keep it dry for two days and to let the steri strips fall off when they’re ready. I would feel a slight pinch or pain if I stretched a little too much for the first few days but nothing that needed so much as an Advil. It healed pretty quickly and I could hardly tell where the incision was after 2 weeks.

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