Basal cell carcinomas usually require quite minor surgery, squamous cell and even melanoma can also be cured without too much intervention, if diagnosed at an early stage and not subject to spreading.
In all cases, you will be treated by a consultant who is more than a surgeon. They will be knowledgeable on cosmetic techniques and take this aspect into consideration in every action they take.
The skill used in removing a lesion can help control reconstructive requirements. There may still be later stage, or more virulent cases, where ensuring a cure has brought greater tissue damage.
Removing your cancer is the key, yet even where this was life threatening, life goes on and returning to normal is a natural wish. Our surgeons want to see this happen for all their patients.
Techniques may be used alone, or in tandem, every case for cosmetic surgery is unique and can have different facets. Below, we explain how two of the most used techiques work in practice.
Skin Grafting – A skin graft requires careful removal of an area of healthy skin, from a donor site on your body. This is used to repair the area where cancer has been removed.
Smaller skin grafts are often full thickness, consisting of the thin outer epidermis layer and thicker dermis. The graft can be taken from a place where there is an excess of healthy skin, such as behind your ears.
Larger areas tend to involve moving thinner layers, with just part of the dermis. More of the dermis is left at the donor site, perhaps your thigh, allowing this to heal within a couple of weeks.
Flap Surgery – Flap surgery, as the name suggests requires surgically raising a flap of tissue, whilst still attached to the body (and blood supply) which is drawn across to repair an area where cancer has been removed.
Moving, or rotating nearby tissue in this way, to whatever depth is needed, is known as local flap surgery. An alternative is called free flap surgery.
Tissue from a different part of your body is transplanted to the required place and the blood supply is maintained by microsurgical connection to blood vessels near the wound you are covering.
Follow Up Treatment
All reconstructive surgery is carried out by experienced consultants, under sound medical conditions. Healing will generally be uneventful, although taking care still makes sense.
Any pain management issues will be discussed, along with the best way to look after a healing wound. Removal of stitches, or replacement of dressings will naturally be organised to suit.
Longer term follow up may be helpful. From ensuring perfect healing, to checking for recurrence, or fresh onset of conditions such as melanoma, or for any information and support you wish.
Good support is part of effective reconstructive surgery and of all skin cancer treatment. By all means get in touch if you wish to discuss any way in which our team can help.