Skin Cancer

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Small skin cancers can often be excised quickly and easily in the physician's office.

 

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Simple excision usually leaves a thin barely visible scar.

 

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A bone/soft tissue flap is used to reconstruct the nose following skin cancer excision.

 

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The incision lines of the flap are hidden within the natural creases of the nose and face.

Skin cancer may appear anywhere on the body that has been regularly exposed to the sun. It is especially common on the face and neck. For men and women in Tucson who have a skin cancer lesion, Dr. Alfaro can surgically remove the growth while minimizing scarring from surgery.

What to Expect in Skin Cancer Surgery

What is it? Surgery to remove (or excise) skin cancer lesions.
Inpatient / Outpatient Usually outpatient
Surgery time: Varies depending on the technique
Recovery time: Healing may take several weeks, and incision lines fade for a year or longer.

How Skin Cancer Surgery Works

Dr. Alfaro can use a variety of techniques to remove skin cancer and reconstruct the defect from its removal. The techniques depends on the size, type and location of the lesion.

Before skin cancer removal, anesthesia is administered. Choices include local, intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Dr. Alfaro can discuss these options and recommend the best choice for you.

Excision is the procedure of choice for removing a small or contained lesion. This is a simple procedure that removes the lesion from the skin, followed by closure. However, it's important to know that skin cancer is often like an iceberg; what's visible may represent only a small portion of the cancer.

Beneath the surface, cancerous cells may cover a larger region with no defined borders. In such cases, a technique called Mohs surgery may be recommended. In this procedure, the cancerous lesion is removed and examined with a microscope prior to wound closure, which ensures the eradication of all cancerous cells.

Dr. Alfaro's goal is to look for a clear margin, identifying where the skin cancer has not spread. The defect can be reconstructed if clear margins are found. If not, Dr. Alfaro will need to remove more tissues until a clear margin is identified.

Local flaps can be used to reconstruct a large lesion or one that has been removed with frozen sections. If excision has caused disfigurement, a flap may also be necessary. With a local flap, Dr. Alfaro repositions healthy, adjacent tissue over the wound. To minimize scarring, a suture line can be placed in a way that follows the natural skin creases and curves. If necessary, a skin graft (in which healthy skin is removed from one area of the body and relocated to the wound site) may also be used.

After skin cancer removal and primary reconstruction is complete, Dr. Alfaro will apply a dressing or bandages to the incisions.

Skin Cancer FAQ

What can I expect during recovery?

Following your skin cancer surgery, incision sites may be sore, red or drain small amounts of fluid. It is important to follow all wound care instructions such as cleansing and applying topical medications exactly as directed.

You may be able to return to light activity the day of your surgery. Make certain to keep your incision sites clean and well protected from potential injury. Try to limit movement that may stress your wound and your sutures.

What will the results look like?

Reconstruction can restore a more natural appearance, but no reconstruction is perfect. Visible scars will always remain at incision sites. You may also expect textural, color or other visible differences of the skin in reconstructed areas. In some cases treating your skin cancer can be disfiguring to your appearance.

Although every effort is made to restore your appearance as closely and naturally as possible, the most important factor is that your skin cancer is effectively cured.

What are the risks of skin cancer surgery?

Risks of skin cancer surgery include hematoma, infection, poor healing, anesthesia risks, scarring, frozen-section inaccuracy, recurrence of skin cancer, systemic spread of skin cancer, change in skin sensation, skin contour irregularities, skin discoloration, swelling, allergies to materials, damage to deeper structures, pain, and need for revision surgery.

Learn More About Skin Cancer Removal in Tucson

If you are ready to discuss skin cancer surgery with a board certified plastic surgeon, we encourage you to call the office of Dr. Armando Alfaro in Tucson, AZ. Dr. Alfaro can answer your questions and discuss the details of this procedure. Call our office at 520‐323‐9720 to schedule a consultation.