An excision is when an appropriately specialized physician or provider performs a minor surgical procedure to remove a lesion from the skin, most often resulting in stitches to close the area. There are many reasons why you would want to do an excision. It could be used as a method to remove moles or growths that are bothersome cosmetically or lesions that are symptomatically problematic such as cysts. It could also be used to remove skin that has been formally diagnosed with or is worrisome for cancer.


Excisions can often definitively remove a growth or cancer. They are considerably less invasive and require less recovery time than ED&C, but can be done more quickly than Mohs Micrographic Surgery.


The physician or provider will provide a local anesthetic in order to numb the area where the excision is taking place. The affected area is then removed completely, usually with a margin of normal skin that varies in size depending on the type of lesion being removed. The place where the skin was taken will most often be closed with several layers of sutures, some of which will dissolve by themselves and some of which may need to be removed in the office in 1-2 weeks. You will remain numb for a few hours after the procedure, and you will have some redness, soreness, swelling and sensitivity of the sutured area. Depending on the size and location of your surgery, you will likely be asked to limit your physical activity for a period of time.