Dermatology is specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of skin disease.
This can include the use of medicines, surgery or other types of treatment depending on the problem.
Doctors specialising in the field of dermatology are called Dermatologists and are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with dermatological disorders.
Guidance for patients
A skin excision is a type of biopsy where a skin lesion is removed, often to exclude a skin cancer. It is normally performed using local anaesthetic, which is an injection to make the local area numb (similar to the dentist).
The lesion is cut out using a surgical blade, together with a small cuff of normal looking skin from around the edges. Stitches are normally used to help the wound heal and are placed both under the skin and on top of the skin. The sample is then sent to be analysed in the laboratory.
You will be given instructions about what to do in the lead up to the procedure date and on how to travel to/from the hospital on the day i.e. you should not drive after the procedure. This information will be in your appointment letter. After your procedure you will receive instructions on how to look after the area and its dressing.
The British Association of Dermatologists has patient information leaflets that you may find helpful.
The main risk to developing most skin cancers is lifetime sun exposure and especially sunburn episodes.
We advise all dermatology patients to take sensible sun protection measures. E.g. Wear a high SPF sunscreen on exposed skin (SPF30+), avoid the strong sun between 11am-3pm, wear long, loose fitting clothing and a wide brimmed hat. Further information on sun safety can be found on the NHS website
Any future new or changing lesions of concern to you should be drawn to the attention of your GP. Please see general advice on skin cancer detection
You may also wish to consider taking a daily over the counter vitamin D supplement of 400IU (10 micrograms) daily as per government advice for all sun avoidant adults in UK.
What should I do if my health is deteriorating?
Whilst waiting for your planned surgery, if you are concerned about the lesion on your skin perhaps, for instance, because it has further changed in size dramatically please contact the surgery booking team who will be able to escalate further with the clinical team if required.