The scalp can develop benign skin abnormalities (cysts, prominent nevi, hematomas, etc.) or malignant ones (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, etc.). In most cases, a surgical treatment is performed, which consists in removing the entire lesion. Systematic histological analysis confirms the absence of residual tumor cells under the microscope.

Chirurgien et son assistante en train de faire une exérèse du cuir chevelu

What is a scalp resection?

A scalp resection is the removal of a dermatological lesion located on the scalp. The surgeon removes part of the capillary dermis. The objective is to remove the tumor as a whole. The scalp is a particularly vascularized area, so a specialized surgeon is recommended.

For which patients?

Scalp resection is recommended for patients who have:
  • a benign lesion of the scalp (cyst, nevus,…), which is functionally or aesthetically disturbing.
  • a malignant tumor that needs to be surgically removed.

What are the results?

The surgical removal of a benign or malignant lesion is done with a histological control to know if the lesion has been removed completely.

What happens during a session?

1st step: preparing the area to be treated

The patient is seated and the treatment team prepares the area of the scalp where the removal will be performed. No shaving is necessary for this procedure. The team then disinfects the area to be removed.

2nd step: local anesthesia

The surgeon injects a local anesthetic into the scalp to make it completely numb throughout the surgical procedure. This is instantaneous and lasts up to 2 to 3 hours after the procedure.

3rd step: removal

The surgeon proceeds with the removal of the lesion using a scalpel and a device that ensures the coagulation of small vessels. When the surgery is performed on a malignant skin tumor, the surgeon uses a safety margin, which means that he removes the lesion and a healthy area around it to ensure that all the affected tissues have been removed. This ranges from a few millimeters, for a minimally invasive basal cell carcinoma, to 2 centimeters, for a malignant melanoma.

4th step: histological examination

A histological analysis is systematic in the case of a nevus or a tumor. The objective is to analyze the nature of the lesion (cancerous or not) and to make sure that the resection was successful and that the resection margins are well located in the healthy tissue.

Scalp resection FAQ

Is a surgical excision effective in treating a cancerous tumor?

YES – This is currently the only way to treat a malignant skin tumor.

Is it painful?

NO – The procedure is performed under local anesthesia.

I am on an anticoagulant medication. Do I have to interrupt it to undergo the excision?

NO – This is not necessary. However, you must inform the surgeon so that he can take this into account.

I'm taking heart medication. Do I have to interrupt it?

NO – This is not necessary. However, you must inform the surgeon so that he can take this into account.

Is the post-operative scar visible?

YES – It will be swollen for the first month before subsiding. In most cases, it is hidden by the hair and, in all cases, the surgeon does everything he can to make it as discreet as possible.

Can I resume a normal activity after the procedure?

YES – You will be able to resume your social and professional activities the next day. However, we recommend waiting a few weeks before resuming sports.