- What is skin cancer removal?
- A cancer diagnosis is very difficult to accept. Understanding that treating your skin cancer may result in scars or disfigurement can also be troubling. Your plastic surgeon understands your concerns and will guide you through treatment and explain the resulting effect on your health and appearance.
- Skin cancer, much like any form of cancer, may require surgery to remove cancerous growths. Your plastic surgeon can surgically remove cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve your health and your appearance.
- Although no surgery is without scars, your plastic surgeon will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance.
- Skin cancer removal recovery
- During your skin cancer removal surgery recovery, incision sites may be sore, red, or drain small amounts of fluid following surgery.
- It is important to follow all wound care instructions such as cleansing and applying topical medications exactly as directed
- You will be able to return to light activity as instructed by your surgeon
- Make certain to keep your incision sites clean and well protected from potential injury
- Try to limit movement that may stress your wound and your sutures
- Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
- How long will it take before healing is complete?
- Healing will continue for many weeks or months as incision lines continue to improve.
- It may take a year or more following a given procedure for incision lines to refine and fade to some degree. In some cases, secondary procedures may be required to complete or refine your reconstruction.
- Sun exposure to healing wounds may result in irregular pigmentation and scars that can become raised, red, or dark. Sun exposure may increase the risk of the development of skin cancer in another region of your body.
- Skin cancer removal results
- Your plastic surgeon can treat your skin cancer by surgically removing cancerous skin and closing the resulting wound. Some forms of skin cancer require additional treatment such as radiation therapy.
- Your physician will advise you about any follow-up treatment recommendations.
- Reconstruction closes the skin cancer defect, but no reconstruction is perfect. Visible scars will always remain at incision sites. You may also see textural, color or other visible differences of the skin in reconstructed areas.
- In some cases, treating your skin cancer can be disfiguring to your appearance.
- Although every effort is made to restore your appearance as closely and naturally as possible, the most important factor is that your skin cancer is effectively cured.
- Following your physician’s instructions is essential to the success of your surgery. It’s important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing.
- Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
- Skin cancer removal risks and safety information
o You will have to decide if the risks and potential complications of skin cancer removal surgery are acceptable.
o You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure.
o The risks include:
o Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations, or injected agents
o Anesthesia risks
o Excessive bleeding
o Change in skin sensation
o Damage to deeper structures – such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles – can occur and may be temporary or permanent
o Poor healing of incisions
o Possibility of revision surgery
o Recurrence of skin cancer
o Systemic spread of skin cancer
o These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It’s important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
o Skin graft risks
o Skin grafts have an added risk that the graft may not “take” and therefore additional surgery may be necessary to close the wound.
o Preserve your health
o Once you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, you are at a higher risk to develop another skin cancer. Skin cancer may reoccur. So, it’s important to discuss the signs of skin cancer with your physician, regularly perform self-examinations for suspicious lesions, and schedule an annual skin cancer screening.