Brookings Health System

Skin Lesions & Skin Grafting

Skin cancer, much like any other cancer, may require surgery to remove cancerous growth. A plastic surgeon can surgically remove cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve a patient’s health and appearance.

A plastic surgeon may surgically remove a small or contained skin lesion and close the resulting wound. However, larger lesions will require deeper removal. Skin cancer can be like an iceberg. What is visible on the skin surface sometimes is only a small portion of the growth. In these cases, a plastic surgeon will look for a clear margin, an area where the skin cancer has not spread. The surgeon will remove more and more tissue until the entire region has a clear margin.

A particularly large skin lesion may cause disfigurement. To restore a more natural appearance, a plastic surgeon may perform a skin graft and reposition healthy, adjacent tissue over the wound. Suture lines are positioned to follow natural creases and curve to minimize the scar. Another option is taking a skin graft from another body area, called the donor site, and attaching it to the needed area.