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Skin Cancer Surgery

Medical, Surgical, and Cosmetic Dermatology Located in Southwest Austin, TX
Skin Cancer Surgery

Basal cell skin cancers, squamous cell skin cancers, melanomas, and other skin cancers may need to be removed with procedures such as an electrodessication and curettage, surgical excision, or Mohs surgery, with possible reconstruction of the skin and surrounding tissue.

Depending on the skin cancer and the location, board-certified dermatologist Christopher Chu MD and fellowship-trained Mohs Surgeon Chelsey Straight MD can help you choose the right treatment. 

What is an ED&C and what is an Excision?

ED&C stands for electrodessication and curettage. In this treatment, the doctor first numbs the area with an injection of lidocaine. The tumor is then removed by scraping it with a long, thin instrument with a sharp looped edge on one end (called a curette). The area is then treated with an electric needle (electrode) to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This process is often repeated once or twice during the same office visit.

An ED&C is a good treatment for superficial (confined to the top layer of skin) basal cell carcinomas.

In a standard surgical excision, your dermatologist will remove the entire tumor with a border of healthy tissue. He or she closes the incision with stitches, and the tissue is sent to a laboratory, where a dermatopathologist examines it under a microscope to confirm that the entire tumor has been removed. Test results may take anywhere from several days to a week.

Surgical excision is usually performed using a local anesthetic. People who undergo this approach can usually go home the same day of the procedure. They may experience some discomfort for a few days. Stitches are usually removed 7 to 14 days later or your doctor may use absorbable stitches. 


Mohs surgery is the most advanced form of treatment for skin cancers, and is reserved for high-risk skin cancers. You can learn more here about how Dr. Chelsey Straight MD performs mohs surgery. 


Regardless of what skin cancer you have been diagnosed with, your team at Pure Dermatology can help you choose the right treatment for you.