Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in the United States each year. Anyone who has previously had a skin cancer or precancerous lesion should be monitored very closely for future skin cancers. Dermatologists and primary care physicians perform most routine monitoring. These physicians can treat many small skin cancers, as well.
At The Waldorf Center, we frequently help with the removal and/or reconstruction after the removal of a skin malignancy. This is particularly true when the location of the tumor is in an aesthetically sensitive area such as the face.
We are always happy to evaluate a worrisome skin lesion. Then, as appropriate, we can monitor, biopsy, or remove and repair the area of concern.
We believe you need to be well-informed about the reconstructive procedure in which you are interested. That includes the processes of preparing for a procedure, and the recovery period. The physician will meet with you about your concerns and personal goals. The surgeon will then examine you, and base her opinion on how to achieve your goals based on best practices, and how the procedure will affect you.
Choosing a surgeon is an intensely personal decision. We encourage you to take time to question the physician, and her team. We believe the formation of a personal bond is an integral part of the surgery and healing process.
There are many techniques to remove and reconstruct an area depending on the size and location of your skin cancer. For a smaller lesion, an excision is a simple technique to remove the cancerous tissue.
Many skin cancers on the face are excised by a dermatologist through a technique called Mohs surgery. This is a technique that allows the tumor to be completely removed while taking the least amount of unaffected surrounding skin and soft tissue. Once the tumor has been removed, your surgeon then reconstructs that area. This team approach – with the dermatologist and plastic surgeon – optimizes the ultimate outcome from both a cancer and aesthetic perspective.
Removal and reconstruction happens under local or general anesthesia depending on the extent of the reconstructive procedure.
The time to recover will depend on the extent of reconstruction. It is very important to follow the wound care instruction and minimize movement of the repaired site. Most patients are able to resume a non-strenuous home schedule the day of surgery, and return to strenuous activity levels in 8 weeks. Healing continues for many weeks, and scars fade over the months. It is critical to practice sun protection every day of your life—not just during your recovery period.
Removal and reconstructive procedures, as with all surgical procedures, carry a certain amount of risk. It is important that you understand these risks, and the possible complications or adverse events, associated with them. Your surgeon will discuss any risks with you during your consultation and pre-operative appointments.
Contact The Waldorf Center for Plastic Surgery in Portland, Oregon
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