About Skin Lesions
Skin lesions are a growth or blemish of the skin that can be either cancerous or non-cancerous.
The cancerous lesions Melanoma, SCC and BCC are of most concern and require timely removal whilst the usually harmless cysts, warts, birthmarks, moles and keratosis can often be removed or even left untreated if not causing discomfort and are not of cosmetic concern.
Whilst about 80 percent of lesions appear on the face, head, or neck, they can be found on any part of the body. Early identification of lesion type is crucial in ascertaining appropriate treatment.
Small skin lesions can be excised and the wound directly closed with sutures under local anaesthetic at our onsite facility.
Larger more complex lesions and lesions on the leg in older frail patients are more likely to be removed in a hospital setting, usually as a day case. Larger lesions may also require a skin flap or skin graft to help fill the open wound remaining after excision of the lesion.
A skin flap is used when the anatomy allows the skin to be taken from adjacent to the wound but if this is not possible a skin graft from another part of the body is required.
How do I find out if my lesion is cancerous?
If you have a skin lesion then review by your GP or at a skin cancer clinic or dermatologist is warranted. If the doctor is concerned then they may suggest a biopsy, this is where some or all of the lesion is cut out and sent to the lab to be visualised under a microscope. The diagnosis is then made and treatment can be planned.
Some lesions are very typical of certain skin cancers and in these cases the doctor may recommend to excise the lesion without a prior biopsy being required.
How do I know if it is safe not to remove a lesion and just let it be ?
This is very difficult to say without seeing the lesion. Your doctor will help you make this decision. Generally if the skin lesion is not growing or changing with time then it is much less likely to be a cancer.
When should I visit a Plastic Surgeon, rather than my Dermatologist or GP to remove a lesion?
Most patients seek to visit a Plastic Surgeon to remove a lesion if it is important to them to obtain the best cosmetic outcome i.e. minimal scarring. This is more likely to be for lesions on the face or neck than say on the thigh.
A Plastic Surgeon is also required for larger lesions and more complex cancers requiring some form of reconstruction.
How can I help minimise scarring from skin lesion surgery?
Once the wound has healed, we will prescribe a scar management regime for you to follow to attain the best scar outcome.
This is likely to involve a combination of wearing a skin coloured tape to the scar, application of a silicone scar cream, massage and sun protection.
How long is my recovery post surgery?
Most patients can return to normal activities the day following their procedure with some restrictions depending on the location of the lesion removed and the complexity of the surgery performed.
Following surgery, a dressing will be applied which will need to be kept clean and dry for 48 hours and a sample of your lesion will be sent to our pathologist for examination.
Your wound will be reviewed and stitches removed between 5 – 7 days for an excision on the face and 7 – 14 days for anywhere else on the body. At this time the pathologist report will be available and discussed with you.
Can I have the skin lesion consultation and procedure on the same day?
If you are in good health, you may be able to have a consultation and procedure on the same day. This is never necessary but often requested by patients to save their time and limit the number of visits required.
Staff will ask you a series of questions to ascertain if you are eligible for this at the time of booking your consultation.
Benign: Non-cancerous lesion
Keratosis: Non-cancerous excessive growth of keratin
Naevus: Non cancerous mole or birthmark
Malignant: Cancerous lesion
BCC: Basal Cell Carcinoma – type of skin cancer
SCC: Squamous Cell Carcinoma – type of skin cancer
Melanoma: Cancerous lesion that develops from the pigment-containing cells known as melanocyte
Suture: A stitch
The total fee for skin lesion surgery at our facility is usually below $1500.
This includes the surgeon’s fee, the facility fee, the nurses time, procedure room, the anaesthetic, medical consumables and post op care.
If you have multiple lesions, or surgery is complex requiring a graft or flap and/or requires hospital admission, fees will be higher.
Your total out of pocket expenses for the procedure and consultation count towards your MSN (Medicare Safety Net) – so you may find your actual out of pocket expense is lower, depending on your personal situation.
Following your consultation, a tailored quote for your planned procedure will be provided to you.
For more information on fees and rebates click here.