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Who Is a Candidate?

Candidates for skin cancer surgery:

  • Have a spot on the skin, usually a sun-exposed area, that is crusty, scaly, ulcerated or intermittently tender or open.
  • Have had a biopsy positive for skin cancer.
  • Have had a cancer removed by another doctor and need reconstruction of the defect.

Because every case is unique, the only way to determine which procedure is best for you is to consult with Dr. Alexander. Our goal is to treat your condition with the best procedure available.

For more information about our skin cancer surgery procedure, please contact us online or call us at We look forward to helping you look your best.


Prior to surgery, we will have you:

  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
  • Stop smoking in advance of surgery


Pain from skin cancer surgery is usually minimal. Pain pills are usually not required but can be provided if necessary. Significant pain is extremely rare.

We will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.

Possible risks include:

  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Infection
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Frozen-section inaccuracy
  • Recurrence of skin cancer
  • Possibility of revisional surgery


Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery, but most skin cancer procedures are covered by insurance. A quote will be provided to you after your consultation with Dr. Alexander.

Cost may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
  • Operating Room and Supplies
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Anesthesia fees (if not done under local anesthesia)

Your health insurance plans should cover skin cancer surgery. Pre-certification is often required for reimbursement or coverage. Be sure to consult with your insurance company in advance of any surgery.


  • Anesthesia—General: The patient is asleep, requiring that the airway be protected either by a standard breathing tube or by a laryngeal mask (LMA), an inflatable mask that is placed in the back of the throat but not down the trachea. An anesthesiologist releases gases through the airway that put the patient asleep. Drugs may also be given through the IV.
  • Anesthesia—Local: The surgical area is numbed up with an injection, but the patient is awake. Sometimes a patient will be given an oral medication, like Valium, to help with relaxation.
  • Anesthesia— Sedation (Twilight): The patient is made sleepy with medications given through an IV. The level of sedation can be adjusted, from barely sleepy to very sleepy. Occasionally sedation is given by the surgeon, but most of the time it is administered by an M.D. Anesthesiologist.
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma: The most common form of skin cancer. Occurs in the epidermis. These growths are often round and pearly or darkly pigmented.
  • Cancer: The uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.
  • Dermis: The deeper portion of the skin.
  • Epidermis: The uppermost portion of skin.
  • Excision: A simple surgical process to cut the lesion from the skin.
  • Frozen Section: A surgical procedure in which the cancerous lesion is removed and microscopically examined by a pathologist prior to wound closure to ensure all cancerous cells have been removed.
  • Local Flap: A surgical procedure used for skin cancer in which healthy, adjacent tissue is repositioned over the wound.
  • Melanoma: A skin cancer that is most often distinguished by its pigmented blackish or brownish coloration and irregular and ill-defined borders is the most serious form of skin cancer. It occurs in the deepest portion of the epidermis, and for this reason, melanoma is the most likely form of skin cancer to spread quickly in the skin and to other parts of the body.
  • Mohs Surgery: A surgical procedure that’s used when skin cancer is like an iceberg. Beneath the skin, the cancerous cells cover a much larger region and there are no defined borders.
  • Nevus: A mole.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: The second most common form of skin cancer, usually found on sun-exposed areas of the body.
  • Skin Graft: A surgical procedure used for skin cancer. Healthy skin is removed from one area of the body and relocated to the wound site. A suture line is positioned to follow the natural creases and curves of the face if possible, to minimize the appearance of the resulting scar.
  • Skin Resurfacing: Treatment to improve the texture, clarity, and overall appearance of your skin, usually with a chemical or laser peel.


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