If you have skin cancer, treatment can involve removal of skin, underlying tissue, or bone. However, there are several ways of reconstructing the skin after its removal, including a local flap of skin or a skin graft.
Skin cancer comes in two main forms: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma can occur in a mole already on your skin, or alternatively will show up as a dark spot somewhere on your head, neck, back, or legs. The mole will have an uneven shape, border, and color. Non-melanoma skin cancers can show up as a waxy spot that crusts and bleeds when disturbed, or as a small mound of skin that refuses to heal. Along with these two main types of skin cancer, there are several less common types as well.
During your initial consultation, it is important that you are completely honest with your surgeon regarding your medical history and what type of skin cancer you have. Your surgeon will discuss your options for surgery and will let you know what results you can realistically expect from surgery.
On the day of your surgery, you will be either intravenously sedated or given general anesthesia. Your surgeon will then remove the lesion, which is usually a very simple procedure. If your surgeon is concerned about how big the actual cancer area is, the removed cancerous tissue may be examined under a microscope to make sure there are clear margins of healthy skin surrounding the cancerous skin, meaning all cancer has been removed. To seal the wound, skin from the surrounding area is repositioned to cover the wound. Occasionally, a graft of healthy skin from elsewhere on your body may also be moved to the wound site to help with the sealing and healing process.
Following your surgery, your skin may be red, sore, or may drain a small amount of fluid. This is normal and should go down over the following days and weeks. You are allowed to return to light activity the day of your surgery, but do not over exert yourself until more healing has occurred. It is very important that you protect your skin from overexposure to the sun, since dangerous sun exposure may slow healing and increase the likelihood of scarring.
For more information about reconstruction after skin cancer resection, call our office at (702) 671-5110 or schedule your appointment online today.