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Staged Excision Technique at Drexel Dermatology

The staged excision technique is a specialized procedure for the removal of certain types of melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. At Drexel Dermatology, lentigo maligna is the primary form of melanoma that is treated using this technique.

About Lentigo Maligna

Lentigo maligna melanoma usually occurs in elderly people. It is most common in the skin on the face, neck, and arms. The abnormal skin areas are usually large, flat, and tan with areas of brown. Most lentigo maligna cancers have a prolonged phase of surface growth and generally have a low risk of invasion into the middle layer of skin. However, this risk increases with time.

Although lentigo maligna can be treated with cryotherapy (freezing) or radiation, surgical treatments are often preferred because they allow for thorough microscopic analysis by a Drexel dermatopathologist. These studies can determine if the cancer cells have spread and if there are any additional problems within the tumor.

One of the main challenges in treating lentigo maligna is that tumor cells may be present in the neighboring, normal-appearing skin. The tumor often has pigment and/or textural changes that are difficult to detect. The staged excision technique, which also takes a margin of the surrounding "normal" skin, allows for examination of all of the areas that may be affected.

About Staged Excision

The staged excision technique is performed under local anesthesia and requires more than one surgery visit to completely remove the tumor. Depending on the pathology results, patients may require only one surgery date for tumor removal or possibly three or more dates if the tumor is more extensive than initially expected.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

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