Benefits of Skin Cancer Reconstruction
Skin cancer removal leaves a defect in the skin. Reconstruction helps restore appearance and functionality after cancer is removed from delicate areas on the face and neck, eyelids, lips, nose, ears, chin, and ears.
Skin cancer reconstruction benefits include:
- Reduced scarring
- Restore symmetry
- Restore functionality to areas affected by skin cancer
- Same day results
Dr. Kam works with a dermatologist or Mohs surgeon, who removes the skin cancer before Dr. Kam performs the reconstruction. She uses advanced techniques to restore the form and function of the affected area while minimizing any disfigurement or scarring.
Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma. Skin cancer is usually found on the face, neck, scalp, arms, and other areas exposed to the sun. After the skin cancer is removed, reconstructive surgery improves the resultant deformity.
What is Skin Cancer Reconstruction?
Approximately 5 million people are treated for skin cancer yearly, including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, or melanoma. Skin cancer is removed using cryotherapy, laser surgery, excision, or Mohs micrographic surgery (also known as Mohs). The removal typically leaves defects or scars. While it is critical to remove cancer, it is also essential for the patient to have access to the best reconstructive surgical options.
Mohs technology is especially effective for removing skin cancer in critical areas like the eyelids, face, ears, and nose. Mohs removes and examines thin layers of tissue under a microscope to ensure that the margins around the area are clear of cancer. During the procedure, tiny frozen layers of skin are scanned to check for cancer cells, reducing the incision size and ensuring cancerous cells’ removal.
Skin cancer reconstruction restores defects caused by skin cancer removal, especially on aesthetically sensitive areas like the face, nose, and ears. After skin cancer removal, Dr. Kam performs reconstructive surgery. She addresses minor or extreme disfigurement on delicate areas of the face, head, and neck and restores the area as closely as possible to its original form and function. Dr. Kam specializes in intricate restoration and provides outstanding results. Ask for before and after photos at a skin cancer restoration consultation.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction Consultation
During the skin cancer reconstruction consultation, Dr. Kam examines the patient and discusses options fore reconstruction. She specializes in skin cancer reconstruction after skin cancer is removed using excision, laser surgery, cryotherapy (freezing), or Mohs surgery. Even if the excision was performed months or years ago, she can reconstruct the scarred region. Dr. Kam creates a surgical reconstructive plan based on the area of the excision, the size, and the surrounding skin.
Dr. Kam explains the best reconstructive method to the patient during the consultation. She also discusses the expected outcome, risks, benefits and aftercare. Her ultimate goal is for the patient to return to daily life feeling confident with their results.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction Preparation
Patients receive detailed instructions during their skin cancer reconstruction consultation with Dr. Kam. Typically:
- Stop smoking at least 4 weeks before the surgery because it hinders healing.
- Advise the doctor of all medications, and follow instructions for pausing medications
- Report medical information, including devices like a pacemaker or stent.
- Avoid medications, vitamins, and supplements that can cause excessive bleeding, including ibuprofen, aspirin, garlic, ginseng and ginkgo.
- Avoid sunburn and sun exposure before the surgery.
- Avoid alcohol for 24 hours before the surgery.
- Ask a loved one for a ride to and from the surgery.
SKIN CANCER RECONSTRUCTION PROCEDURE
A specialized dermatologist treats basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma by removing the skin cancer while sparing as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as possible. The careful removal of the cancer while limiting damage to the surrounding tissue is essential in sensitive facial areas, including lips, eyelids, nose, and ears. Dr. Kam can close complex skin cancer deficits after the dermatologist removes the lesion.
Local anesthetic (numbing medicine) can be used alone or in combination with an anxiolytic to help the patient relax. The surgery can be performed awake in the office, or asleep in an operating room.
Removal of a cancerous lesion
Depending on the nature of the skin cancer, Dr. Kam may remove the cancer, or may refer the patient to a specialized dermatologist, also called a Mohs surgeon, for cancer removal. After removal of the cancer, Dr. Kam reconstructs the area.
Skin cancer reconstruction
If the skin cancer is extensive, its removal can cause disfigurement. Dr. Kam will reconstruct the area using a procedure known as adjacent tissue rearrangement. She repositions the healthy adjacent tissue to cover the wound, and the sutures are positioned along natural creases of the face, when possible, to reduce scarring.
Other options include using tissue from another area to create a skin graft, using a skin substitute, or a tissue expander. Reconstructive surgery and wound healing is a complicated process, and it may take more than one procedure, along with minor touch-ups, to optimize the final result. Dr. Kam explains the planned procedures during the consultation.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction Recovery
Dr. Kam provides each patient with recovery instructions during the consultation. Follow her instructions to ensure the best possible results. Patients can call the office at any time to ask for assistance.
Patients should avoid the sun right after surgery because sun exposure can cause irregular pigmentation, raised, red or dark scarring. Sun exposure can also increase the risk of cancer developing in another area. Dr. Kam will examine the area within one week and provide additional instructions for resuming activities.
The incision site may be sore, and drain small amounts of fluid immediately after the surgery. Follow all wound care instructions. Limit activity and keep the incisions and wounds clean and protected.
The wound will heal during the first several weeks, and the scar will fade. Patients are encouraged to follow the scar care instructions for the first year to help the lines fade. In some cases, Dr. Kam may recommend additional procedures to achieve the best results.
Why Choose DR. Kam
- Joanna Kam, MD is a Facial Plastic Surgeon certified in Otolaryngology by the American Board of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
- She completed a residency in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, MI.
- Dr. Kam was one of a handful of students in her medical school class nominated to the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction Cost
The cost of skin cancer restoration varies depending on the extent of the wound. Medical insurance usually covers the cost. Dr. Kam creates a customized reconstruction plan and discusses the cost, if insurance coverage is declined. The friendly office staff are available to help.