Skin lesions (or growths) may be observed in an infinite variety of sizes, shapes, colors and locations. They can also vary from being flat (or macular) to being raised from the skin surface (or papular). Two of the most common types of lesions are moles (also known as nevi) and keratoses. Some moles may contain clusters of pigmented skin cells appearing dark in color and may be macular or papular. Moles with irregular edges or varying shades of color may have developed into a serious form of skin cancer known as malignant melanoma. Keratoses appear as raised yellowish-brown skin lesions which are most commonly seen in sun exposed areas of the body. Long standing, neglected keratoses can sometimes develop into basal or squamous cell cancer.
A history of recent change in appearance, failure to heal despite appropriate care and symptoms such as ulceration, bleeding, pain, irritation or itching may all be relevant factors in the diagnosis of skin lesions. When encountering a skin growth that demonstrates any of these characteristics, you should schedule an evaluation by a physician skilled in the diagnosis and management of skin lesions.
In order to treat unwanted symptoms or possibly exclude a diagnosis of skin cancer, your physician may recommend a biopsy of your lesion in which tissue cells from the growth are specially prepared for evaluation under a microscope. The biopsy may involve removal of the entire growth (ie. excisional biopsy) or just a portion of it (ie. incisional biopsy). Whichever technique is employed, a biopsy provides useful diagnostic information and, in some situations, indicates the need for additional, perhaps more extensive, surgical management. (see ‘Skin Cancer Reconstruction’).
Performed under local injection anesthesia in either an office setting or in a State Licensed, Nationally Accredited Ambulatory Surgery Center (see ‘about Keystone Surgery Center’), lesional biopsies and excisions are outpatient procedures generally lasting between 15 and 45 minutes. They usually require no ‘down-time’ and patients may immediately return to their usual activities.
When considering lesion or mole removal, be sure to select a qualified physician skilled in the management of skin lesions. For larger or more complex growths or those present in obviously visible areas, such as the face, it is advisable to seek care from an experienced plastic surgeon, certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS). As a board certified plastic surgeon with over 15 years of clinical practice experience and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (The Mark of Distinction in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery® ASAPS), Dr. Robert Kimmel welcomes the opportunity to offer you the complete spectrum of lesion care. From initial diagnosis to definitive treatment, Dr. Kimmel’s expertise will ensure that you receive the optimal care while maximizing your cosmetic outcome.