Skin lesions can be classified as benign or malignant (cancerous). Lesions suspected of being cancerous should be removed or biopsied in order to find out what they are 100%. At times, removal of skin cancer results in a defect which would require reconstruction either with a small skin graft or a local flaps (moving adjacent tissue around to fill the defect).
With regards to benign lesions and moles, they can sometimes cause problems. For instance, they might tend to get traumatised during various activities (e.g. shaving etc.). Or, they might bother people cosmetically. Surgical removal of a lesion will result in having a small permanent scar which we would always try to hide in natural creases if possible. We will always check the pathology of the lesion to be sure 100% we are not missing anything.
Any lesion suspected to be cancerous or known to be cancerous by prior biopsy would always be tested again to ensure the margins are clear. With cancerous lesions, there is always a small possibility that another procedure might be required to remove more tissue around the lesion to ensure complete excision.
Reconstruction might be required in cases of surgical removal for cancer. Options would be discussed in detail including their pros and cons.
Consultation would include assessment of the lesion, most likely diagnosis and options and alternatives would be discussed in detail.
Most of these procedures are carried out under local anaesthetic as day case procedures.
Recovery takes 2-4 weeks depending on what is required. There might be swelling and bruising for a couple of weeks which usually settles down well.
You would require nurse appointment a week after surgery and consultant follow up appointments to assess your progress and discuss pathology.
Risks and implications will be discussed in detail during your consultation. You will also receive a detailed letter outlining my professional opinion, alternatives, what the procedure would entail, hospital stay, recovery and risks along with patient information leaflets. I would encourage you to schedule another consultation if you feel that you have questions or concerns.
A few year follow up might be required depending on the diagnosis. Your care might also be transferred to the NHS if desired. Please bear in mind that private patients treated for high risk skin cancer would be discussed at the relevant MDT in the NHS to ensure best possible multidisciplinary advice and care.
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