Sometimes skin lesions can turn out to be more dangerous than they are. It is important that you always have an eye on the changes that happen on your skin. Wide local excision is a surgical procedure for removing a small area of the tissues that are suspected to be diseased or affected by malignant melanoma. Along with the problematic tissues, a small amount of normal tissues surrounding the lesion may also be removed. This treatment is commonly performed during skin lesions but can also be used on any other part of the body.
The tissue that was removed will be examined under a microscope to understand what type of relation it is and also confirm if it is a malignant tumor. This examination is also done to check if all the tissues of the lesion have been removed completely, without leaving behind any small part.
Sometimes your doctor may also combine melanoma-wide local excision along with a lymph node dissection. This is to eliminate an area of lymph nodes that could possibly be affected by the malignant growth or has a high chance of cancer spreading to that part.
During a wide local excision combined with lymph node dissection, your doctor makes a small incision on the part of the skin where malicious growth is suspected. The lymph nodes will then be removed along with any other nearby tissue that may have cancer cells. After this, your doctor will place a small tube or a drain and close the incision with sutures or staples. A drainage bag is attached to the last end of the tube for collecting any fluids that drain from the area.
This is done to reduce any chance of fluid buildup (seroma) inside the tissues and promote better healing. The bag is left in the same place for a few weeks or until there is no drainage at all. Once the primary tumor is eliminated the excision on the skin area is closed with sutures. But in some cases, patients with deep excisions may need a skin graft for covering the site.
In cases where melanoma is suspected, earlier it can be highly curable. The main treatment to cure early melanomas is surgery with wide local excision and is also used as part of the treatment approach for advanced melanomas.
Based on how deep the melanoma is, the edge of the normal tissue surrounding this abnormal lesion differs. This is carried out only after the diagnosis is done. Doing this helps to minimize the risk of cancer returning back to the same site.