Surgery

Skin lesions including skin cancers can be surgically removed under local anaesthesia. The cost may well be covered by private medical insurance - advise the receptionist when booking an appointment of your policy number if you think this may apply. Dr Peter Chapman-Smith is an Affiliated Provider to Southern Cross Health Insurance for skin cancer diagnosis and removals. The Southern Cross pre-approval process is quick and easy and is taken care of by the clinic staff.

A punch biopsy may be required to seek laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis prior to undergoing surgery, involving taking a cylindrical core of tissue 2-3mm in diameter. Punch biopsy is considered the primary technique for obtaining diagnostic full-thickness skin specimens.

Once a diagnosis is made and where surgery is indicated, a treatment appointment is scheduled to remove the lesion and repair the skin with the best cosmetic result in mind. This may be a simple skin ellipse, or a flap repair which involves moving skin into the skin deficit.  Sutures are placed under the skin to approximate the edges and to provide wound strength, prior to skin closure.

All lesions removed are sent to the laboratory for examination under the microscope, and to check that removals are adequate. Occasionally a wider excision may be required later.

Radiofrequency ablation of benign lesions is indicated for benign non-cancerous lesions, and this technique provides a favourable cosmetic result.

Cryotherapy is a method of freezing and destroying some sun damage and skin cancers. It is inexpensive, but has the risk of a pale scar.