Dermatology Services

Melanoma and Non-melanoma Skin Cancer Surgery

woman with moles on her faceSurgery is a common treatment for skin cancer and is used in most treated cases, including melanoma. Some types of skin cancer growths can be removed very easily and require only very minor surgery, while others may require a more extensive surgical procedure. Surgery may include the following procedures:

  • Cryosurgery
  • Using liquid nitrogen
Cryosurgery uses an instrument that sprays the liquid onto the skin, freezing and destroying the tissue.

Curettage and electrodesiccation

This common type of surgery involves scraping away skin tissue with a curette (a sharp surgical instrument), followed by cauterizing the wound with an electrosurgical unit.


A scalpel (sharp surgical instrument) may be used to excise and remove the growth. The wound is usually stitched or held closed with skin clips.

Mohs' microscopically controlled surgery

This type of surgery involves excising a lesion, layer by layer. Each piece of excised tissue is examined under a microscope. Tissue is progressively excised until no tumor cells are seen. The goal of this type of surgery is to remove all of the malignant cells and as little normal tissue as possible. It is often used with recurring tumors.


Huntsman Cancer Institute

2000 Circle of Hope,
Suite #2400
Salt Lake City, UT
(801) 581-2955

Related Documents

Diseases and Conditions
Interactive Tools