Neoplasm surgery is surgery used to remove a tumor, or abnormal growth. This could be a cancerous, or malignant, tumor or a non-cancerous, benign tumor. Different types of neoplasm surgery are used to treat different types of tumor. Types of neoplasm surgery used to treat cancer include: laser surgery; electrosurgery, which destroys cells with electric currents; cryosurgery, which freezes cancer cells; and Moh's surgery, where layers of cells are carefully shaved away. Surgeons may perform traditional open surgery or laparoscopic surgery, which is carried out through smaller incisions; robots are sometimes used to manipulate surgical tools.
Neoplasia is the condition in which unusual new growth occurs in the body, and a tumor is a lump made up of neoplastic cells. A tumor may be benign, which means it is not cancer and will not spread, but surgical removal could still be necessary as a growing mass may press on surrounding structures. Cancerous tumors usually need to be removed, preferably before they have had a chance to spread. Sometimes, if cancers have spread widely, neoplasm surgery is not appropriate, and treatments such as chemotherapy are used instead. Surgery may also be used as part of diagnosis, when doctors are trying to determine whether an individual neoplasm is cancer and, if so, to see how far the cancer has spread.
Conventional open methods of neoplasm surgery involve making large incisions in the skin which enable the surgeon to view the tumor clearly. Laparoscopic neoplasm surgery, sometimes known as keyhole surgery, is performed by passing miniature surgical tools through hollow rods which are inserted through small cuts. The surgeon is able to view the operation through a laparoscope, a thin, flexible instrument with a camera which relays images to a monitor. Although it is an experimental technique, surgery may also be carried out through a natural body opening such as the mouth. Surgical instruments are passed down into the stomach and, by way of a small incision, gain access to organs inside the abdomen.
Laser techniques can be used for some types of neoplasm surgery, such as the removal of neoplastic cells on the cervix. During laser surgery, powerful light energy destroys cells by heating them. Electrosurgery, which is used to treat some skin cancers, uses electrical currents at high frequency to kill cells. Cryosurgery is another technique used to treat abnormal cervical cells, and it destroys cells by freezing them. Moh's surgery is used for skin cancers and involves tumor layers being shaved away and analyzed under a microscope until a layer of skin without cancerous cells is reached.