It is not easy to accept a skin cancer diagnosis. Additionally, to know that treating skin cancer may result in disfigurement or scars is also troubling. Your cosmetic surgeon understands these concerns and guides you through with explanation on its effect on your appearance and health.
Just like other forms of cancer, skin cancer usually requires surgery for the removal of the cancerous growth. Plastic surgery removes skin lesions and cancerous lesions surgically with the use of special techniques for preservation of your appearance. It is understandable that every surgery leaves scars, but your facial plastic surgeon makes sure that your nose skin cancer does not leave you with a dramatically changed appearance.
What is the nose skin cancer removal procedure?
Depending on the size, the location, and the type of lesion, there are several techniques to remove skin cancer from the nose and there are several ways to repair a nasal defect following the excision of the skin cancer. The surgery is performed under either local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Small, defined skin cancers of the nose can often be excised and reconstructed in the office using local anesthesia.
Sometimes, skin cancers of the nose are large, or they are poorly defined, or they are of an aggressive nature, or they are a recurrence of a previously operated on skin cancer. In these situations, the services of a Mohs surgeon are employed. A Mohs surgeon, is a dermatologist who is trained in a specific technique of skin cancer excision that allows for the smallest defect, and the best chance of complete eradication of the lesion. If a patient falls into one of these categories, the patient will have the nasal skin cancer excised by the Mohs surgeon under local anesthesia in the morning, and then will have the defect reconstructed by the facial plastic surgeon in the afternoon.
During the reconstruction procedure, in case of a large section removed, it is closed with a local flap. This involves restructuring adjacent tissue over the wound and following the natural contours of the nose and face for the suture line as much as possible.
What is the recovery like?
After your nose skin cancer surgery, the site of incision may be red, sore or drain some fluids. It is imperative that you follow the instructions given by your surgeon for wound care. This will include cleansing instructions and application of topical medicines. Keep your nose clean and protected from any injuries.
Any movement that may add stress to your sutures or wound must be avoided. Your surgeon will advise you when you can return to normal/ light activities.
As the incision lines improve, healing will go on for a few weeks or even months. It will take about a year for the incision lines to fade and get refined. However, removing cancerous growth and lesions is far more important than a little scarring. You should also protect yourself from sun damage to enhance your results.