Dermatologic surgery has 2 main objectives: 1) to guarantee surgical radicality; and 2) to achieve optimal aesthetic and functional results. These 2 paradigms and their hierarchy must be considered when performing surgical procedures on the skin. Even the easiest intervention, the elliptical excision, presents some features that should be known to achieve such goals. One of these features is the incision orientation.
The optimal incisions orientation is still matter of debate, especially because studies that compare the outcomes of performing incisions in different directions are lacking. However, some anatomical, clinical, and histological observations may point out why incising the skin in one orientation is better than another.
Knowing the theory behind skin incisions/excisions become of outmost importance when dealing with primary cutaneous melanoma surgery. Especially if the melanocytic lesion is suspected to be an invasive melanoma and a sentinel lymph node biopsy will be required.