Melanoma Surgery

What Is Melanoma Surgery?

Melanoma surgery is the standard procedure for addressing early-stage melanoma cancers. Typically thought of as a fairly minor operation, this type of surgery can often remove melanomas completely and in some cases with large margins to avoid further cancer spread. At Helena Dermatology, we offer this type of surgery in addition to providing comprehensive cancer screening, photodynamic therapy, and Mohs surgery referrals. With ongoing treatment and support, we can help ease your symptoms and get you feeling healthy again.


How Does Melanoma Surgery Work?

Melanoma surgery is usually after a skin biopsy to properly diagnose the cancer. If cancer is found, this surgery can be a good treatment choice. During the procedure, we inject local anesthesia into the cancerous area to numb it before excision. We then cut out the site of the tumor, along with a small amount of normal skin surrounding the edges. Cutting the surrounding skin or “margin” is important to curtail the spread of the disease. The wound is usually stitched back together after the procedure. This surgery is likely to leave a scar.

What Does Melanoma Surgery Treat?

Melanoma surgery is a viable treatment for cancer that has yet to metastasize. Removing cancer before it has had a chance to spread maximizes treatment outcome and minimizes the chances for recurrence. If the cancer has already metastasized, then melanoma surgery can be a means of controlling the cancer rather than curing it. Even if the cancer has begun to spread, controlling it will help improve quality of life.

Dermatologist inspecting a mole

What to Expect During Your Visit

When you visit Helena Dermatology, we will assess your condition through a preliminary cancer screening. If we discover something abnormal, we may need a blood draw or biopsy to come to a firm diagnosis. If we find melanoma, we can discuss the risks and benefits of surgery or provide you with a Mohs surgery referral if we deem it more beneficial. Melanoma surgery usually needs only a  local anesthetic and may require bed rest post-procedure depending on the status of your condition.

Results From Surgery

Most of the time you will be able to go home right after melanoma surgery. Due to the local anesthetic, part or all of the treatment area may still be numb following the procedure. If the procedure uses dissolvable stitches, they will disappear in a matter of weeks. If it uses clamps or other stitches, you will have to return 5-14 days following your surgery so the doctor can safely take them out. We recommend follow-up appointments after surgery for ongoing monitoring and support. 

Melanoma Surgery in Helena, MT

Helena Dermatology is here to provide you with the care and support you need. If you have noticed signs of melanoma or would like to be tested, we’re here to help. Our center is staffed by a team of capable doctors who can provide you with surgical treatment to help you combat this terrible disease. For expert dermatological care and ongoing support with a friendly smile, fill out the form below and schedule an appointment or give us a call at (406) 443-7200.


Request an Appointment

To schedule your appointment, please fill out the form below or give us a call at (406) 443-7200 today!

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We're happy to answer any questions you may have, feel free to call us at
(804) 775-4559