What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery
Finding out you have skin cancer can be a scary diagnosis. Unfortunately, it is a common diagnosis with approximately 9,500 Americans getting the news each day, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Research also indicates that nonmelanoma skin cancer affects more than 3 million Americans every year with basal cell carcinoma as the most common form of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is extremely common, but thankfully, it is also treatable when caught early. That’s why it’s important to be extremely vigilant and pay attention to any changes on your skin no matter where they appear on your body. Symptoms can include:
- Changes in a mole
- Scaly patch of skin
- Non-healing sore or one that heals and returns
If you notice any changes on your skin or patches that are itchy and bleed, it may be time to call a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis. The key is not to wait because the time to diagnosis can play a pivotal role in your treatment and recovery.
When skin cancer affects your face, skin cancer reconstruction surgery may be necessary to repair and restore the area. This type of surgery is delicate and needs to be performed by a surgeon who is trained in facial plastic surgery procedures.
If you or someone you know has skin cancer and is in need of facial reconstruction surgery, read on for what you can expect from the procedure as well as recovery time.
Why Do I Need Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery?
While surgery is done to remove the cancerous parts of the skin, reconstruction surgery is often necessary or wanted to cover the area and make it blend in with the other skin. It’s very common for patients to seek reconstruction surgery when the affected area is on the face because it is so visible. Often the affected areas can be deep and large on the face increasing the desire for a reconstructive procedure, which can make patients feel less self-conscious while preserving normal tissue and restoring a natural appearance.
How Is Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery Done?
Since all skin cancers are different, the exact procedure may differ from patient to patient. Most commonly, skin cancer reconstruction is done with a standard excision or a Mohs resection. The size and location of the affected area will determine which type of reconstructive surgery is done. A Mohs resection is often done for skin cancers that are hard to treat or on recurring areas as well as sensitive areas on the face.
A surgeon will take extra tissue from nearby locations on the body to cover the area. Skin grafts and cartilage grafts are taken from other parts of the neck, head or body are often used. Depending on where the affected area is on the face, multiple surgeries may be necessary to get the best result. This scenario is often seen with patches of skin on or around the nose.
Common areas where skin cancer reconstruction surgery is done are on the lips, ears, nose and near the eye.
How Long Will Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery Take?
Since all patients and cases are different, the procedure length can vary from 15 minutes to 3 hours. Usually, local anesthesia or conscious sedation is used, but, your surgeon will discuss your options with you.
What Is the Recovery Time?
Skin cancer reconstruction surgery is done on an outpatient basis so you will be able to go home once it’s over. Many patients go back to their normal activities that day. You can expect to have a dressing over the surgery area for about a week as the area heals. This will also help to keep it clean and free of infection. Any stitches will also be removed after about one week.
Do You Need Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery?
If you are recovering from skin cancer and want more information on skin cancer reconstruction surgery, call Dr. Keith Ladner’s office today. Dr. Ladner has extensive experience in this area and will explain all areas of the surgery and answer your questions. He is double board-certified by both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery. Contact Dr. Ladner today at 303-253-7686 to schedule a consultation or book one online to discuss your skin cancer reconstruction surgery.