Laser Surgery for Skin Cancer
Learn more about skin cancer treatments or find a screening volunteer
Cancerous growths are removed by vaporizing the top layers of skin with a laser. This technique is used for superficial basal and squamous cell skin cancers as well as pre-cancerous conditions.
Why choose laser surgery for skin cancer
Laser surgery offers an effective method of removing epidermal skin cancers. The treatment also heats the layers underneath to promote collagen production, which stimulates skin in the treatment area to heal smoother and more evenly.
What you should know about laser surgery for skin cancer
This minimally invasive procedure causes little damage to surrounding tissue.
As with any treatment, there are risks associated with laser surgery, though they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS dermatologist. Risks include:
The average cost for laser surgery for skin cancer is between $1,750 and $2,300. Since skin cancer treatment typically is considered medically necessary, some or part of the cost of treatment usually is covered by medical insurance companies.
How to prepare for the procedure
Before the procedure, an ASDS dermatologist will review the patient's medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks/benefits and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should:
- Discuss any susceptibility to cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth since the procedure can trigger breakouts in at-risk individuals.
- Avoid medications or supplements that can affect blood clotting - such as aspirin, ibuprofen or vitamin E - for 10 days before surgery.
- Avoid smoking for two weeks before and after the procedure.
What to expect after the procedure
Following treatment, your doctor will bandage the treatment area. Patients will be required to:
- Clean the treatment area after the first 24 hours, and then four to five times a day thereafter.
- Apply an ointment, such as petroleum jelly, after cleanings to prevent scabs from forming.
Patients can also expect the treated area to:
- Swell for 24 to 48 hours after treatment.
- Itch or sting for 12 to 72 hours after treatment.
- Slough and peel off old skin five to seven days after treatment.
Healing typically takes 10 to 21 days, depending on the size and location of the procedure. After the treatment area is fully healed, patients should:
- Use only oil-free makeup for at least two to three months.
- Avoid sun exposure and apply an appropriate sunscreen to the area, which will have a lighter appearance following resurfacing.
- Keep new skin well-moisturized.
Find a doctor for your laser surgery
Visit "Find a dermatologic surgeon" and choose “Skin Cancer Treatments & Reconstruction” from the dropdown menu. In 2013, ASDS dermatologists performed nearly 3.04 million skin cancer treatments, up from 2.7 million in 2012. Because ASDS dermatologists are trained in the best and latest techniques, they are the most qualified to evaluate and select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient’s condition.