Procedures / Surgical / Skin Cancer Surgery
Treat your cancer and your appearance.
If learning you have cancer isn't scary enough, learning that treating your skin cancer could also leave you with scars or disfigurement can be very distressing. Dr. Walker understands these fears and concerns and will guide you through treatment and explain the resulting effect on your health and appearance.
Although no surgery is scar free, Dr. Walker will make every effort to treat your skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance. For some people, reconstruction may require more than one procedure to achieve the best results.
If you're a candidate for skin cancer surgery, this outline will give you a basic understanding of the procedure when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon. Ask Dr.Walker about anything you don't understand.
What happens during skin cancer surgery?
Depending on the size, type and location of the lesion, there are many ways to remove skin cancer and reconstruct your appearance if necessary.
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure.
Step 2 – Removal
A small or contained lesion may be removed with a simple surgical process to remove the lesion from the skin. It is important to remember that skin cancer can be like an iceberg in that what you can see on the surface sometimes may only be a small portion of the growth. Underneath the skin, the cancerous cells may cover a much larger region and there are no defined borders. In these cases, a specialized technique called Mohs surgery may be recommended. Whatever the procedure, the objective is to look for a clear margin — an area where the skin cancer has not spread.
Step 3 – Reconstruction
A large lesion or one that has been removed with frozen sections can be reconstructed with a local flap. A flap may also be necessary where excision may result in a disfiguring appearance. A local flap repositions healthy, adjacent tissue over the wound. A suture line is positioned to follow the natural creases and curves of the face if possible, to minimize the appearance of the resulting scar. A skin graft, healthy skin removed from one area of the body and relocated to the wound site, may also be applied.
Step 4 – See the results
After your skin cancer has been removed and any primary reconstruction is completed, a dressing or bandages will be applied to your incisions.
The best candidates for skin cancer surgery.
To determine if you are a good candidate for skin cancer surgery the best thing to do is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Walker.
As a guideline however the best candidates are in relatively good physical and psychological health and have realistic expectations for the outcome of their surgery.