Skin Cancer Removal

Skin Cancer Removal2021-05-06T16:07:05+02:00

What is skin cancer removal?

Skin cancer removal is often done immediately, preferably by an experience plastic surgeon, to prevent it spreading.

Your type of skin cancer will determine the type of surgery and the type of neoadjuvant therapy required (if any). The 3 main skin cancers in increasing severity are basal cell carcinomas (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCC) and Melanoma. SCCs and Melanomas require immediate removal to prevent spread. Further surgery (Sentinel Node Biopsies) might be needed to check and treat any spread.

A malignant melanoma is more likely to spread, and often needs more complex treatments. These can include surgery, radiation therapy (remove – not for melanoma), immunotherapy, and chemotherapy. A range of specialised techniques are available to remove cancerous lesions with minimal scarring, and reconstructive surgery can help reduce any disfigurement.

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FAQ

What is the procedure for skin cancer removal?2021-05-28T13:29:01+02:00

The procedure and techniques will vary depending on the diagnosis.

If the lesion is small a simple removal will be done and the incision closed.

If there are indeterminate cancerous cells under or in the skin we may ask a pathologist for a frozen section examination during your surgery. This will improve the chances of removing everything.

If the area is large or could result in disfigurement a skin flap can be created in the area adjacent and repositioned over the wound using techniques to minimise scarring. Alternatively skin grafting may be necessary; the removal of skin from another part of the body to cover the wound.

How to prepare for skin cancer removal surgery?2021-05-28T13:19:20+02:00

To prepare for skin cancer removal surgery, you may be asked to stop smoking for 2 – 4 weeks prior to the procedure. Nicotine retards the healing process, and quitting for as long as possible before surgery helps improve blood flow.

You might also have to have a blood test before surgery is performed.

During the consultation be sure to disclose what medication, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. I may need to adjust this leading up to surgery. You should avoid certain medications like aspirin and some anti-inflammatory drugs. You may also need to stop taking some vitamins and supplements. Avoid any recreational drugs.

Be sure to arrange for transport to and from the clinic. You will not be able to drive yourself after the procedure.

What to expect after skin cancer removal?2021-05-28T13:14:46+02:00

After surgery to remove skin cancer expect to have dressings covering the wounds. You will be advised on how to treat the area and you may have stitches that will need to be removed.

The recovery will depend on the type of surgery.

There is a chance of some pain and discomfort but your prescribed medication will help.

Wait 24 – 48 hours before showering as instructed. Keep the wound dry. Avoid any vigorous activity or exercise while healing, and take care not to put any excessive force or pressure on the incision or on skin graft areas. If you have had a skin graft, the healing period will be longer.

There is a chance that the scar will larger than anticipated since lesions can have extensions and roots not visible on the surface.

If you have had skin cancer there is a chance of more. Get regular check-ups.

Protect your skin from the sun, use high-factor sunblock when outdoors. Avoid sun exposure between 11 am and 3 pm. Wear a hat outdoors and close-weave cotton clothing.

What are the risks of skin cancer removal?2021-05-28T13:08:40+02:00

Even with skin cancer removal, there is a risk of recurrence or spreading of the cancer.

With any surgery, there is a (low) risk of post-operative infection, bleeding, and swelling.

Other risks may include slow wound healing, changes in skin sensation, nerve, blood vessel, and muscle damage. After a skin flap reconstruction or skin graft, there may be tissue death (necrosis) or rejection that may require further surgery.

 

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