What happens after the skin cancer is removed?

Immediately after the cancer is removed, a decision is made for the best method to reconstruct the wound created by the surgery. Most frequently, the wound is closed with stitches in a side-to-side fashion, by a skin graft, or by a skin flap. Occasionally, when the wound is small enough, no stitches are required and the wound is allowed to heal on its own. Most patients will not require further procedures after the repair of the surgical defect. However, some repairs are completed in two stages, with the second stage occurring two to three weeks after the initial surgery.

Infrequently, a tumor may turn out to be much larger than anticipated. Under these circumstances, another surgical specialist may become involved. If another surgical specialist completes the reconstruction, it may take place on the same day or on a subsequent day. It is not harmful to delay the reconstruction for several days. In very rare cases, this reconstruction may require hospitalization.