Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in human beings. Daily sun exposure over a lifetime predisposes an individual to develop a skin malignancy. When skin cancer must be removed, the area operated on may have to be reconstructed in order to restore normal appearance and functionality.
Excessive sun exposure and certain skin types can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Here are a few preventative measures:
- Try to avoid burning
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen
- Avoid UV tanning beds
- If you’re concerned with the appearance of any skin lesion you might have, consider visiting a plastic surgeon or dermatologist.
Mohs Surgery and Excision
The size and location of the affected area are important factors that help determine which technique is used for its removal.
- Excision: For smaller skin cancers located in non-cosmetically sensitive areas (such as the back), direct excision is usually the best choice. In most cases, this can be performed in the office using local anesthesia. A small margin of normal skin is included in the specimen in order to ensure all the cancer was removed. The resulting wound is usually closed directly with sutures.
- Mohs Surgery: Depending on the size and/or location of the affected area, more advanced removal techniques may be necessary, such as Mohs Surgery (named after the surgeon who developed this technique). This technique involves the removal and microscopic analysis of the skin cancer specimen. If it is discovered that the skin cancer goes deeper, another layer is excised and analyzed. This is repeated until the cancer is completely removed and no longer detected.
Before & After Photos
Facial skin cancers can be very distressing, as their treatment can at times entail a large excision that leaves behind a sizable wound. In this case, reconstruction may be recommended. Reconstructive techniques have advanced considerably to give results that are very acceptable.
The size and location of the resultant wound helps determine the type of reconstruction technique used.
- A local flap involves repositioning healthy, neighboring skin over the wound site.
- A skin graft may be used if sufficient adjacent tissue is not available. This technique involves removing a small area of skin from another part of the body and using it to resurface the wound.
Going Over Your Options
If you have undergone skin cancer removal and are in need of reconstruction, please schedule a consultation. I will be more than happy to discuss your options and determine if this procedure is an option for you.