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Fusiform/elliptical excision

Christian L Baum, MD
Section Editor
Stanley J Miller, MD
Deputy Editor
Rosamaria Corona, MD, DSc


The design and execution of a fusiform ellipse are fundamental skills of skin surgery. The purpose of this procedure is to remove a skin specimen and in the process produce a cosmetically acceptable linear scar. Although the nomenclature for the procedure may vary depending upon the design (eg, elliptical, fusiform, tangent-to-circle), the purpose remains the same.

Since the design of most skin excisions involves sharp, not blunt, points at each end, the most appropriate description of this design is either fusiform or tangent-to-circle, and not elliptical (figure 1). The principles of the fusiform ellipse, such as anatomy, skin tension, tissue movement, and suturing technique, are the same principles necessary to perform more advanced skin surgery, such as advancement flaps, curvilinear excisions, and M- or S-plasties.

This topic will discuss the design and execution of the fusiform/elliptical excision. Skin biopsy techniques, Mohs surgery, the principles of graft and flaps for reconstructive surgery, and head/neck anatomic danger zones are discussed separately.

(See "Skin biopsy techniques".)

(See "Mohs surgery".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 20, 2016.
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