Standard Surgical Excision (SSE) is a technique for excision of a wide range of benign and malignant skin tumours. An appropriate margin of normal skin surrounding the lesion to be excised is chosen and an elliptical or canoe shaped incision is made. The adjacent skin is then sutured together as a straight or curved line.
The specimen is then sent for pathological analysis with the result being known in 2 to 3 days.
SSE is the treatment of choice most malignant tumours which require excision. Tumours that are excised in this fashion will normally have been biopsied prior to excision proving the minimum grade of tumour.
Biopsying tumours ensures the lesion needs to be removed and allows us to see the minimal surgical margin required to achieve long term clearance rates.
Typically a 4-6mm radial margin is required to achieve 98% 5yr clearance rates. This is more for melanoma.
Close margins have been shown to have recurrence rates of up to 70%, even with post operative histological (microscopic) clearance.
Mohs Surgery, continuous margin control surgery or Mapped Serial Excision (MSE) may be a better option than SSE in the treatment of selected skin cancers in areas were tissue preservation is beneficial (like the face).