What is the difference between an incision and an excision?

During an excision, the surgeon removes a mass or an organ.

Surgeons use specialized surgical skills often called incision and excision. An incision is the deliberate cutting performed on the tissues of the body, while an excision involves the removal of tissue, such as in a biopsy or an inflamed appendix. As surgeons work with a large number of incisions and excisions, their uses are governed by what needs to be done surgically and the health status of the patient. The difference between an incision and an excision can also be determined simply by looking at their terms.

The suffix -otomy refers to cutting without tissue removal, while the suffix -ectomy refers to tissue removal.

Access to the internal environment is the goal of an incision, and an excision is done specifically for curative treatment, usually for the removal of diseased tissue or organs. When it is determined that a patient has a tumor within their organs, a surgical procedure called a biopsy, which requires an incision and an excision to remove the tissue, becomes necessary. The tissue is then examined microscopically to determine if there is a malignancy. This helps the doctor provide a diagnosis and an effective treatment regimen.

Sutures are commonly used to close incisions.

Many types of incisions and excisions are used, which are primarily determined by the type of surgical procedure being performed. Produced vertically in the middle of the abdomen, midline incisions, as in laparotomy, are primarily made to enter the abdominal cavity. Lumbotomy is a type of incision made later to gain access to the kidneys, as in a nephrectomy or kidney transplant. Used to remove burns, sequential excisions involve removing layers of dampened skin tissue in preparation for the addition of skin grafts. Lobectomies are excisions performed to remove a section of an organ, such as the brain or lungs.

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A surgical incision is the deliberate cutting of body tissue, usually at the beginning of a surgical procedure.

Suturing is performed to close an incision, while an excision does not normally require this. Necessary for the proper healing of body tissues, sutures result from the actual stitching of the edges of the tissue so that they are held in position to facilitate the healing process. Although suturing is commonly performed, it is not the only way to close a surgical wound. Medical staples and tape are examples of other methods used to achieve the same goal.

An episiotomy is an incision made in the perineum during childbirth to prevent traumatic tissue rupture.

The medical terminology used for an incision and an excision can be recognized by their suffixes. For example, if the surgical procedure involves an incision, the term for this will end with the ending “otomy”, as in episiotomy, the cut made in the perineum during childbirth to prevent traumatic tearing of the tissues. The suffix “ectomy” is used when referring to a tissue excision, as in an appendectomy, the removal of an infected appendix.

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