Excision is a way of removing skin cancers or skin growths (non-cancerous growths) with surgery. We may also take a small amount of normal skin around the area to help make sure all the skin cancer cells have been removed.

Preparing for Surgery

If you notice any changes in your lesion (i.e. pain, increased growth, bleeding, etc) before your procedure, please send photos of your lesion to MyChart and call the clinic so a nurse can re-evaluate and triage your symptoms.

On the day of your surgery:

  • Wash the area with antibacterial soap.

  • Do not wear any make-up (if the procedure is on your face).

  • Wear comfortable, layered clothing.

  • Eat regular meals.

  • Take your routine medicines.


Take all your normal medicines, even blood thinners. If your doctor prescribed you anti-anxiety medicine to help you relax, bring them with you. Only take them after you and the surgeon decide on the procedure. Do not take them at home. You will need to have a driver if you use these medicines.

If your skin cancer or skin growth is around your mouth or lips, you may need to take antibiotics before surgery. Please talk to your doctor if you had:

  • A heart valve replacement.

  • Prosthetic material used to repair a heart valve.

  • A heart transplant with valve abnormality.

  • Unrepaired congenital heart condition or prosthetic patch or device.

  • Previous heart valve infection.

What to Bring

  • Headphones and music if you want to listen to music during surgery.

  • A complete list of current medicines with dosage.

  • A list of past and present health problems and surgeries. We need to know if you have an implanted device.

Day of Surgery

When you arrive, check in at the registration desk, or a kiosk. In clinic, the staff and the surgeon will explain the treatment you will have. All cell phones and pagers must be turned off in the procedure rooms. One adult visitor may come with you but will need to wait in the waiting room during the procedure.

We will numb the area. We will remove the skin cancer or skin growth with surgery. Your surgeon will decide how the wound should heal. This may include:

  • Healing naturally

  • Closing with stitches

  • Doing a skin flap or graft

Rarely, is there a need for repair by a plastic surgeon. It will depend on the size of the wound, where it is on the body, and what you and your surgeon decide. If you have surgery near the eye, forehead, or upper cheek, there may be swelling that affects your vision.

After Surgery

For a few days after surgery, you may have pain, fatigue and swelling. This will limit how much you can do. You may have weight and activity restrictions for one to several weeks. Your surgeon will talk to you about this after surgery is done.

You will return to the clinic or see your local doctor to have the stitches removed in 1 to 3 weeks.

You will need routine follow up skin exams. You may schedule with your dermatologist or with your primary doctor. The surgeon will help you decide this after your visit.

All forms of skin surgery will leave a scar. Most sites heal very well. Many take up to a full year. Talk to our staff if you have questions or concerns about a scar.

Insurance and Billing

Please have a referral from your doctor (UWHC or from an outside clinic) before your visit. This will help avoid delays.

For UW Health physician billing questions call 608-833-6090. For UW Health clinic billing questions, you can call 608-262-2221.

Priceline can give estimates of cost at 608-263-1507.

Who to Call

Junction Rd. Medical Center

451 Junction Road, Madison WI 53717

1st Floor Dermatology……...608-265-7670

Lower-Level Dermatology….608-265-0700

Mohs Surgery……………….608-263-6226

E. Terrace Dr Medical Center

5249 East Terrace Drive, Madison WI 53718
Dermatology and
Mohs Surgery………………608-265-1288

1 S. Park Medical Center

1 South Park Street, Madison WI 53715

20 S. Park Medical Center

20 South Park Street, Madison WI 53715

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.