It’s not easy to accept a skin cancer diagnosis. Additionally, it can cause added distress knowing skin cancer removal may leave scars or disfigurement. Dr. Paul Stanislaw is a double-board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who can help you achieve a good cosmetic outcome and achieve complete removal of many types of skin cancer.
Just like other forms of cancer, skin cancer usually requires surgery for the removal of the cancerous growth, such as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Plastic surgery removes skin lesions and cancerous lesions surgically with the use of special techniques for the preservation of your appearance. It may also be used to reconstruct the results of previous treatments. Every surgery leaves scars, but your facial plastic surgeon can make sure that your removal procedure does not leave you with a dramatically changed appearance.
Depending on the size, the location, and the type of lesion, there are several techniques to remove basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas from the nose. There are also several ways to repair a nasal defect following the excision of common skin cancer. The surgery is performed under local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Small, defined skin cancers of the nose can often be excised and reconstructed at a skin cancer center as an outpatient procedure using local anesthetic. However, more complex cancers may need additional techniques like Mohs surgery, local flap, or a skin graft.
Mohs micrographic surgery is one of the most advanced and effective forms of skin cancer treatment and is sometimes combined with radiation therapy. Sometimes, skin cancers of the nose are large, poorly defined, of an aggressive nature, or are a recurrence of a previously operated-on skin cancer. In these situations, the services of a Mohs surgery trained dermatologist are employed. A Mohs surgeon is a dermatologist who is trained in a specific technique for skin cancer excision (Mohs surgery) that allows for the smallest defect, and the best chance of complete eradication of the lesion.
It works in stages where the Mohs surgeon removes a thin layer of skin and performs a microscopic examination to check for cancerous tissue within the skin cells. This process is completed until only healthy tissue remains. One of the biggest advantages of Mohs surgery is that it preserves as much normal skin as possible, making reconstruction afterward more effective. Dr. Stanislaw does not perform Mohs surgery but partners with leading dermatologists in the area to collaborate on your treatment plan.
If it’s determined that Mohs surgery can benefit your treatment plan, you’ll have the nasal skin cancer excised by the Mohs surgeon under local anesthesia in the morning. Then, Dr. Stanislaw will perform the reconstructive procedure on the healthy tissue (typically also under local anesthetic).
During the reconstruction procedure, the area of removal is closed with a local flap of healthy skin. A local flap involves restructuring surrounding tissue over the wound and following the natural contours of the nose and around the eyes. Less commonly, a skin graft is needed for more tissue. In this case, a skin graft is typically taken from an area like the thigh or groin. A skin graft can sometimes produce more noticeable scarring but is needed in the case of more substantial tissue removal during the initial procedure. Dr. Stanislaw will discuss the surgical plan with you in detail.
After your cancer surgery, the site of the incision may be red, sore, or drain some fluids. It’s essential to follow the instructions given by Dr. Stanislaw for wound care. This will include cleaning the incisions and keeping them covered. You may also be prescribed medications – take these as directed.
Your activities will be restricted for a few weeks in order to allow your body to heal. This can require several weeks in total depending on your unique procedure. It will take about one year for the incisions to completely settle into their final appearance. During this time, they will begin to blend with the natural contours of the nose and become undetectable.
Keeping the area covered with sunscreen is not only beneficial to preventing visible scarring but essential to preventing the reoccurrence of high-risk skin cancer. Skin cancer can reoccur and require future treatment in the form of Mohs surgery and potentially another reconstructive procedure. Thus, protecting your skin is essential in keeping it healthy and cancer-free.
To meet with Dr. Stanislaw and learn more about skin cancer treatment and removal, contact our office today by calling or filling out our online form.