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Auckland DHB General Surgery

Public Service, General Surgery, Bariatric (Weight Loss) Surgery

Skin Lesions

General surgery offers an extensive skin lesion removal service at Auckland Hospital and Greenlane Outpatients.

If straightforward lesions can be done in the patient's own community by experienced GPs.

If complicated or preferred the patient will be seen at clinic, assessed and booked for surgery under local at Greenlane or for more complex cases under anaesthesia at Auckland or Greenlane.

General Surgery liaises with the Dermatology department and from January 2018 will be arranging a combined clinic to see and treat in one session.

The most common skin cancer is Basal Cell or BCC; rarely fatal but if ignored can be disfiguring and is best treated early.

Next is Squamous Cell Cancer or SCC which should also be seen early and treated. If ignored it can lead to mortality.

These cancers have different features and are usually in sun exposed areas particularly face, limbs and trunk, but the diagnosis is made by the pathologist after removal of the skin lesion.

Melanoma is potentially fatal if undetected. Usually a dark lesion which is changing anywhere on the body, not only sun exposed areas. Treatment is always by removal and depending on pathology report further surgery may take place.

Features to be aware of from the national guidelines are below:




Skin lesion AND three or more of the following features:

A.        Asymmetry of shape, structure or colour


B.        Border irregularity


C.        Colour variation / multiple colours


D.       Different from other lesions (‘ugly duckling’)


E.        Evolving, changing


Risk factors


Personal history of melanoma


Family history of 2+ first degree relatives <40 yrs diagnosed with melanoma



        Dermoscopy of skin lesion is suspicious for melanoma


Your GP can refer if any of these features are present or may remove the lesion and seek further advice from General Surgery. Currently digital photos are used to assist the hospital in triage. Mole mapping is another useful option.

If you are worried about a skin lesion on yourself or others always get checked.

This page was last updated at 10:23AM on September 15, 2021.