Skin cancer is a disease that occurs when malignant cancer cells form in the skin's tissues. Skin cancer can occur for many reasons. These include excessive exposure to natural or artificial sunlight, being exposed to arsenic and other toxic substances, exposure to radiation and having other health problems that greatly weaken the immune system. Skin cancer can often be successfully treated with surgery if it is diagnosed early. These are some different types of surgery that are used to treat skin cancer.

Mohs Micrographic Surgery 

This type of surgery is done by using a scalpel to remove the cancerous growth and a thin layer of tissue surrounding it. The layer of tissue is then sectioned, tested and looked at closely under a microscope to see if there are cancer cells visible. If so, another of layer of skin is removed from the same area and tested in the same way. This is repeated until a tissue layer is discovered that does not have visible cancer cells.

Once the cancer tissues are removed completely, the scar may be allowed to heal naturally or depending on the depth and width of the scar it may be immediately reconstructed. Mohs Micrographic surgery is commonly performed on the feet, hands and neck and around the eyes, nose, ears or lips.

Excisional Surgery 

Excisional surgery is done by removing the cancerous tumor and a surrounding border of normal skin with a scalpel. The wound is the sutured closed so that it can heal properly. The tumor and skin are then sent to a lab to be tested to ensure all cancer cells have been removed.

The specimen is looked at closely under a microscope and if any cancer cells are visible, the excisional surgery will need to be repeated to ensure no cancer cells are left remaining in the skin.

Curettage With Electrosurgery 

This surgery is normally done only to small cancerous areas of the skin. A curette instrument is used to scrape the cancerous area of tissue off the skin and an electrosurgical needle is used to burn and destroy any remaining cancerous tissue and control bleeding of the lesion. 

This procedure may need to be repeated several times to remove all cancerous tissues. Each time a deeper layer of skin is removed to ensure no cancer remains. Therefore, this surgery is best for cancerous tumors that exist in inconspicuous areas of the skin due to the possibility of substantial scarring.


Cryosurgery is the most non-invasive form of surgery for removing cancerous skin tissue. It is done by applying liquid nitrogen directly to the tumor to freeze it and prevent it from spreading. This procedure may need to be done several times to the same area. After treatment is completed, the tumor normally scabs over and falls of with a few weeks.

No bleeding occurs with Cryosurgery and there is no need for anesthesia. Therefore, this is a good option for those who have bleeding disorders or those who are allergic to anesthesia.

Determining which type of surgery is best to treat skin cancer depends on several factors. This includes the type of cancer, the location of the tumor and the stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed. Share