Excisional Biopsy of a Lesion or Cyst
Lumps or masses anywhere on the body may be benign (not cancerous), malignant (cancerous) or infectious. Although we can often differentiate them by our symptoms, their location, appearance and rate of growth, we may sometimes recommend excision and further microscopic examination by a trained pathologist. Alternatively, they may be excised for cosmetic reasons or because they are causing discomfort.
Removal or excision of most masses is usually a scheduled procedure. Small masses or lesions can often be excised in the office; large or complex lesions may need to be scheduled in the operating room under sedation in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility.
In an office procedure, the area may be injected with a local anesthetic agent to numb the tissue. The area is cut away from the normal tissue so as not to disturb the edges of the lesion. When a lesion or mass is suspicious, it is excised entirely to include some healthy surrounding tissue. The specimen will be sent to the pathologist for microscopic analysis. The incision will be closed and an antibiotic ointment will be applied.
The excision of a cyst requires removal of the entire capsule in order to prevent its recurrence. Simple drainage of the cyst may not be effective because the capsule may refill. The specimen will be sent to the pathologist for analysis. The incision will be closed and an antibiotic ointment applied.
The results of the microscopic analysis performed by the pathologist may take up to a week . The pathologist will tell us what type of tissue the lesion is and whether it is benign or malignant.
In many cases, no other treatments are necessary. In the case of a malignant lesion, it is possible that the lesion has spread microscopically (not visible to the surgeon's eye) to surrounding tissue which would require another procedure be done to remove the remaining tissue.