Skin Cancer Reconstruction
Most cases of skin cancer can be successfully and thoroughly removed through an excision procedure that removes the entire tumor and any roots.
Despite its high level of efficiency, skin cancer excision often leaves behind large wounds or scars in prominent areas such as the face or hand.
These deformities can be emotionally upsetting and a constant reminder of the skin cancer that once existed there. Fortunately, plastic surgery can be performed to repair the wound and restore your skin to a more healthy and natural appearance.
Skin cancer reconstruction can often be performed the same day or the day after the removal procedure. Reconstructive procedures are performed on an individualized basis, depending on each patient’s wound, and can involve a skin graft, flap of skin, stitching or surgical closure.
While complete tumor resection is the main goal, your doctor also takes your appearance into consideration by leaving as much healthy tissue as possible. Skin cancer reconstruction uses this remaining healthy tissue to carefully restore the area for both effective and aesthetic results.
Skin Cancer FAQs
Skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in the United States, is the result of an abnormal growth of skin cells. Cancer can affect skin anywhere on the body, but most frequently appears on skin that is exposed to the sun. There are more than a million new cases of skin cancer in the United States each year.
What Causes Skin Cancer?
Every day, skin cells die and new ones form to replace them in a process controlled by DNA. Skin cancer can form when this process does not work properly because of damage to DNA. New cells may form when they are not needed, or older cells may not die, both of which can cause a growth of tissue known as a tumor. DNA damage is often a result of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps.
What Are The Types Of Skin Cancer?
There are three main types of skin cancer. Basal cell skin cancer occurs in the basal cell layer of the skin and is the most common type of skin cancer in people with fair skin. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the squamous cells and is the most common type of skin cancer in people with dark skin. Melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer, and the most likely to spread to other parts of the body.
What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is often identified as a new or changed growth on the skin of the scalp, face, lips, ears,
neck, chest, arms, hands or legs. Although these are common areas for skin-cancer growths to form,
they can occur anywhere.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed?
To diagnose skin cancer, a doctor reviews all symptoms and checks the skin for any unusual growths or abnormal patches of skin. If skin cancer is suspected, a biopsy is performed on the growth or area of skin in question. Once the results of the biopsy are reviewed, the type of cancer can be determined, and a treatment plan created.
What Are The Different Treatments For Skin Cancer?
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type, size, and location of the tumor. Most options include the removal of the entire growth and are effective forms of treatment. Removal procedures are usually simple, requiring only a local anesthetic in an outpatient setting. In addition to excision, other treatment options for skin cancer include freezing, laser therapy, and Mohs surgery. Depending on the stage and severity of the skin cancer, in addition to the removal of the growth, chemotherapy, and radiation may be recommended.
How Is Skin Cancer Prevented?
Although not every case of skin cancer can be prevented, the best way to avoid it is to protect skin
from ultraviolet rays.
Burn Care and Reconstruction
Burns that penetrate below the superficial layer of the skin, or epidermis, can leave patients with scars and disfigurements.
Serious scarring not only results in negatively altered appearance, but often has detrimental psychological consequences.
When burns are severe enough, they damage muscular, bone or nerve tissue, affecting mobility, strength and sensation. Physicians can do much to repair the damage suffered by burn victims through a variety of procedures, including burn reconstruction.
Types of Burn Reconstruction
Burn reconstruction is performed to improve the patient aesthetically and psychologically. Most burn scars become less noticeable over time, but serious burns may leave scars that are unattractive, draw unwanted attention, or are disfiguring. Burn treatments typically involve skin grafting and cosmetic reconstruction. While some may be performed in an emergency setting soon after the damaging event, many treatments will take place after the original burn has healed, as much as 9 months to 1 year later.
After a serious burn, tight bandages are often required in order to prevent heat and moisture from escaping from the wound, decrease sensitivity, collect wound drainage, prevent infection, and keep the area in an appropriate position for healing.
Burn reconstruction may involve grafting of skin or other tissue, creation of skin flaps or the use of injectable fillers to normalize the appearance of the skin. Such methods may also correct functional problems, enabling the patient to move more freely. Skin for skin grafts may come from the patient or may be harvested from pigs or from the donated skin of cadavers. Skin grafts are sometimes only temporary to keep fluids in place until further healing takes place.
Debridement is the medical removal of dead, or necrotic, tissue, in order to promote healing. Debridement may be done surgically or with the help of chemicals.
A burn scab, or eschar, that completely surrounds a limb causes tightness, impeding blood circulation. An eschar that goes completely around the chest, for example, can make breathing difficult. In such a case, surgical cutting of the eschar in several places is required to relieve pressure and increase mobility.
In addition to any surgery necessary to repair damaged skeletal, muscular or neurological tissue, plastic surgery if often necessary after a serious burn injury. Plastic surgery can improve the appearance of burn scars and increase the flexibility of joints affected by scarring. Plastic surgeons use various techniques, such as laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion and chemical peels to smooth out scarred tissue and normalize its appearance.
Our Plastic Surgeons Specializing in Skin Surgery, Care and Cancer
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