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These tumours can take the shape of rashes, moles, pimples, non-healing spots, or flakey lesions. Skin cancers can be deadly if they are not caught in the early stages, which means regular skin checks by a trained professional are important. Once skin cancer has been identified, surgery is a common method of removal.

Skin cancer surgery completely removes the cancerous cells in order to stop them from spreading. Dr Jeremy Richardson will examine your malignant spots and ensure you get the right treatment for your condition.

Types of skin cancer

The most common types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant melanoma (MM). Both BCC and SCC are known as non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC).

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common but least dangerous form of skin cancer. It grows slowly, invades locally, and rarely spreads throughout the body.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) occurs in areas of high sun exposure (head, neck, arms and hands) and grows more rapidly than BCCs. Because SCC can spread around the body, it can be life-threatening if not caught and treated early.

Malignant Melanoma (MM) accounts for 5% of all skin cancers and may develop from a mole or as a new skin lesion. Melanoma can occur in any part of the body, even in non-sun-exposed areas. Because it has a tendency to spread through the lymphatics or bloodstream, melanoma can be life-threatening if not caught and treated early.

What is Skin Cancer Surgery?

Skin cancer is common in Australia due to high levels of UV radiation. It is prone to spreading and becoming more threatening over time. This means you should keep an eye on your skin and take note of any moles or skin spots that change colour or shape over time. Things to look out for include:

  • Moles that change colour, shape, or size over time
  • A spot that regularly bleeds or does not heal
  • Patches of skin that look different from the surrounding skin

A professional will be able to identify whether your skin lesions are benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), and advise the best path of treatment. If a cancerous growth is identified, you may need to have it surgically removed. Surgery for skin cancer involves excising the cancerous skin cells using surgical methods.

What to Expect During Your Consultation

Prior to your skin cancer surgery, you will need to consult with skin specialist Dr Richardson. He will give you personalised guidance based on your skin condition and the location and size of your skin lesion. As well as this, you will discuss the potential causes of your cancerous lesion. For example, some people are more prone to developing skin cancer if they have fair skin, spend large amounts of time in the sun, and have a history of skin cancer in their families.

There are multiple types of skin cancer, including:

  • Basal cell carcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Dr Richardson will aim to identify the nature of your skin cancer and develop a surgical plan to ensure the complete removal of all malign skin cells.

The Procedure

The procedure for skin cancer is generally surgical excision. This is when Dr Richardson cuts the spot or lesion out of the skin using surgical tools. The details of your procedure will depend on the nature of your affected skin as well as the size and location of the lesion.

Skin cancer surgery is often performed with local anaesthesia. Dr Richardson makes incisions to remove the spot, along with a thin border of healthy skin in order to ensure that no cancerous cells are left behind. He will then close the incision. Depending on the size of the removed skin, he may additionally use a skin graft or flap to allow proper closure.

Cost of Skin Cancer Surgery

Surgical fees are different for each patient, depending on the details of their surgery. This means we can give you a better idea of your overall fee after speaking about your skin condition and requirements for surgery. Additionally, patients should note that Medicare will not generally cover a skin cancer check. However, you may be able to claim rebates for your surgical cancer removal. You are welcome to ask further questions during your first appointment with us, and we will endeavour to give you all the information you need.

Your Personal Consultation

Request a Consultation

Your personal consultation is the first step to finding the right procedure for you. Dr Jeremy Richardson is a highly skilled Specialist Plastic Surgeon, dedicated to providing quality results and a positive patient experience.

Book your appointment to
  • Discuss your physical concerns and goals
  • Receive an outline of your surgical options
  • Get quality advice from a Specialist Plastic Surgeon
  • Receive a customised treatment plan
  • Meet Dr Richardson’s Patient Coordinator and team who will support you through your journey


After your skin cancer surgery, your specialist will check your skin to ensure there are no remaining cancer cells. If we find more cancer cells in your skin, you may need to have further surgery or other treatments.

During your recovery, it is normal to have some pain and swelling around your incision area. You should take care of your skin during recovery and try not to cause further injury or irritation. Additionally, we will give you instructions on what to do to optimise healing and reduce your risk of healing issues. For example, you should:

  • Keep your incision site clean and dry
  • Apply any topical medications prescribed by your doctor
  • Keep your treated skin out of direct sunlight
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol
  • Avoid activities that could put a strain on your affected skin
  • Consult Dr Richardson if any issues arise

The time it will take to recover from skin cancer surgery will depend on the size of your excised skin. However, most patients can expect:

  • Some mild pain while the wound heals
  • Return to normal tasks after a few days (depending on the case), such as walking, driving, and non-strenuous work
  • Refrain from exercise for three to four weeks, or as advised by Dr Richardson

Risks and Complications

Complications are rare after skin cancer surgery. However, it is still a good idea to be aware of the risks to ensure you can properly weigh your options. Risks involved in this procedure include:

  • Large scars
  • Lasting pain and swelling
  • Reactions to anaesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Further surgery
  • Incomplete removal of the cancerous tissue
  • Damage to underlying structures

Skin Cancer Surgery FAQ

Can I check my own skin for cancer?

Will I have scars afterwards?

How can I prevent skin cancer?