Wide Local Excision 2023-11-28T11:24:49+00:00

Wide Local Excision Surgery

Our professional team provide precise surgical interventions for skin cancer treatment. If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, you’re not alone; we’re here to help.

What is a Wide Local Excision?

A wide local excision – or WLE surgery – removes the skin surrounding the skin cancer to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence at that site. Even though an initial biopsy often removes the entire tumour, wide local excision may be recommended as a second intervention to reduce the risk of the skin cancer recurring.

Wide excision surgery usually removes a 0.5-1cm margin around the site of a melanoma detected at the earlier stages; however, this amount varies depending on the type of tumour and how deep it has spread into the lower layers of the skin. Most wide local excisions are closed with stitches; larger ones may require skin grafts or flaps.

Wide Local Excision Procedure

In Skin Cancer Excisions, your doctor will use Local anesthetic to numb the skin; the biopsy site is then cleansed and sterile towels are placed around it.

With everything set, the skin cancer and a small margin of healthy tissue around it is cut out, usually in a football-shaped ellipse. Once the tissue has been removed, the wound’s edges are sutured together. The tissue is then sent for processing and margin evaluation by a pathologist.

The procedure takes about an hour, and the patient can go home the same day with post-surgery instructions and care. 

Wide Excision For Melanoma

The recommendations provided by The Medical Journal of Australia (1)  for a melanoma excision of primary cutaneous Melanoma are:

Stage Thickness  Margins 
Stage 0 Melanoma (Melanoma in situ) 5–10 mm margins  0.5 cm
Stage 1 Melanoma ≤ 1.0 mm thick 1 cm margins
Stage 2 Melanoma 1.01–2.00 mm thick 1–2 cm margins
Stage 3 Melanoma  2.01–4.00 mm thick 1–2 cm margins
Stage 4 Melanoma  > 4.0 mm thick 2 cm margins

Why Choose a Wide Local Excision For Skin Cancer?

Once the biopsy is completed, your specialist will recommend which treatment is more accurate for your type of skin cancer. Skin excision is used primarily on melanomas, but it also can be used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas. 

Wide local excision can result in a cure rate of approximately 95% and allows for microscopic examination of surrounding tissue. Unlike chemotherapy and radiation, it can be accomplished in one session.

What to Expect in a Wide Local Excision Surgery? 

This procedure is relatively small and is typically performed using local anesthesia.

Your doctor will use stitches or clips to secure the area where the tissue was removed. Initially, this might cause a slight sensation of tightness. Yet, the surrounding skin will naturally stretch as the healing progresses, and the tightness should gradually subside.

In the days following the wide local excision, you may experience tightness and tenderness in the treated area. Your specialist will prescribe pain medication if needed to ensure your comfort during recovery.

How Long Does A Wide Local Excision Take To Heal?

The time it takes to recover will vary depending on the thickness of the melanoma and the extent of the surgery required. Most people recover in 1–2 weeks. The doctor will tell you how long to wait before returning to your usual exercise and activities.


How Will You Get The Results?

The excised skin sample will be sent to the Pathology Department for evaluation, and based on the test results, you may or may not require a follow-up appointment. 

Wound Care & Wound Repair

After the wide excision, it is important to care for the wound properly, wash the area daily with warm, soapy water and pat it dry; avoid using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol.

The wound is typically closed using stitches, resulting in a scar. Over time, the scar tends to become less prominent. In cases where a significant portion of skin is removed, the specialist may suggest wound repair through one of two methods:

  • Skin Flap: involves lifting nearby skin and fatty tissue, relocating it over the wound’s edges, and stitching it in place.
  • Skin Graft: In this technique, a layer of skin is taken from another part of your body, often the thigh or neck, and transplanted to cover the area where the melanoma was excised. The transplanted skin usually regrows within a few weeks.

Book an excision surgery in Melbourne Today.

At Manningham Skin Cancer Clinic, we’re committed to providing our patients with the highest standard of care. If you require a melanoma-wide local excision for skin cancer, have concerns about skin abnormalities or require another skin cancer service, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Early intervention is key to successful treatment. Skin cancer can often be detected early through self-examinations and routine check-ups. Some early signs include:

  • Unusual Moles or Spots: Any new or changing moles should be examined promptly.
  • Persistent Sores: Non-healing sores or lesions should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
  • Skin Changes: Noticeable changes in skin lesions’ colour, shape, or size require attention.

Contact us today to book your consultation with our specialists. 

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