Local Anaesthetic

Most skin cancer surgery can be performed under local anaesthetic. This means that you don't have any drugs that make you drowsy or put you to sleep.

A small injection into the skin around the skin cancer will make the local area numb without affecting the rest of your skin. There is still some sensation of movement or vibration,but it is not sore or painful. The local anaesthetic usually last for 90 to 120 minutes, so there is plenty of time to finish the surgery before it wears off.

Sutures / Stitches

On most occasions we put sutures in to close the hole. Dissolving sutures may be used deep under the skin to help minimize the stretching of the scar. They can last for 3 to 6 months in the skin before they break down.

Non-dissolving sutures are often used on the surface of the skin and these need to be taken out. This might be in 4 to 7 days on the face, but might be as long as 14 days on the legs or back. Different parts of the body heal at different speeds. Non-dissolving sutures cause less marks on the skin surface compared to dissolving sutures.


Excision means to cut the whole thing out. There's not much use in leaving some of the skin cancer behind. There is usually an small amount of normal skin taken as well, so that we can be sure that the edges are all clear.