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Reconstructive Surgery for Skin Cancer in San Diego

At Coastal Plastic Surgeons, we understand the difficulties that arise from living with unsightly skin tags, moles, and other skin lesions on the body. We perform reconstructive skin surgery to help remove those problem areas on the skin’s surface and provide screenings before moving forward into removal to make sure we have a comprehensive understanding of the area beneath the skin, and how to proceed with your customized treatment.

What Can Reconstructive Surgery for Skin Cancer Achieve?

Safe Removalof Cancerous Skin

Your plastic surgeon can surgically remove cancerous and other skin lesions using specialized techniques to preserve your health and appearance. Skin cancers on the face can be easily removed, and tissue can be examined to see if any cancerous skin remains. Once the cancer is safely removed, the following step in your treatment requires that your plastic surgeon begin the reconstructive process.

Natural Facial Appearance

Although no surgery is without scars, your plastic surgeon will make every effort to treat the area affected by skin cancer without dramatically changing your appearance.

One of the primary goals for reconstruction in the face is preventing facial skin cancer defects from imposing on the original form of an individual’s appearance. Restoring function is also key, allowing the face to return to a state that is as normal as possible.

Comprehensive and Personalized Reconstruction

We offer everything from scar revision treatment to skin grafts designed to get your treatment just right. Everything during your reconstruction process is personalized to your medical and aesthetic needs. Grafting from donor areas of the body will also be personalized according to the amount of tissue needed and the tone or pigmentation that best matches the reconstruction site.

How Is Reconstructive Surgery for Skin Cancer Performed?

Treatment Areas

Reconstructive surgery for skin cancer is a flexible and customizable procedure that allows your surgeon to target specific areas for tissue removal. Dr. Batra will work with you during your consultation to determine which areas should be treated and to what degree other areas should be harvested for grafting.

Common treatment areas include:

  • Upper Face
  • Lower Face
  • Midface
  • Cheeks
  • Chin
  • Head
  • Neck

Procedure Details

You will need a thorough evaluation to determine the reconstruction technique that is most suitable for restoring your skin and the structure of your face. Once a procedure method is chosen, you must follow the proper instructions for preparation prior to surgery. Additional aesthetic surgeries, such as a facelift or a facial implant, may also be considered depending on your needs.

Anesthesia: Reconstructive surgery for skin cancer is generally performed under anesthesia, with the choices typically including local intravenous or general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia is determined by the size and location of the harvest area and reconstruction area.

Grafting: If skin grafting is required to properly reconstruct your problem area, you will have skin removed from one area of the body and moved to repair a damaged area at another location. Skin grafts can be employed through various graft thickness levels, ranging from partial-thickness (harvesting thin layers of skin without an incision) or full-thickness (requires surgical removal and sutures).

No matter what kind of skin graft you receive, each graft will be personally designed to match the shape and size of the target area.

Local Flap Reconstruction: Local flap reconstruction is another method for facial skin cancer reconstruction after skin cancer removal. This technique uses the skin adjacent to the removal site for repair. Local flaps utilize the incisions of the removed section, extending them so that a flap of skin can overlap or “drape” over the area of concern. When done professionally, this method is designed to create the most seamless appearance possible, allowing for more favorable blood supply and pigmentation match.

Major Facial Reconstruction: Unfortunately, skin cancer can sometimes invade other areas of the face, causing extensive disruption to structures within the face and scalp. In this scenario, a specialist in oncology (cancer medicine) is required. Once your cancer is removed, you will most likely need a plastic surgeon to restore your face to its original state as best as possible. This will require a donor or flap site large enough to compensate for the additional tissue required for your reconstruction. These donor areas may include skin and muscle tissue from areas like the back or leg. As a complex and highly advanced technique, major facial reconstruction is reserved for severe repair to large areas of cancer damage.

Easing Your Concerns

After your reconstruction has been completed, you may experience soreness, redness, and draining of small amounts of fluid from the incision area. Your surgeon will provide wound care instructions that must be followed and instructions for taking proper pain medication.

Reconstruction surgery for skin cancer is typically performed under anesthesia, so the only pain you will experience is the injection of the anesthesia itself. Following the operation, patients will experience irritation, inflammation, and mild to moderate pain in the treated areas. Prescription or over-the-counter pain medications may be used to manage subsequent pain. The swelling and discomfort should be alleviated in just a couple of weeks.

Reconstruction surgery for skin cancer requires that small to significant incisions be made to reposition and repurpose flaps and skin grafts. Because of this, the significance of scarring is usually determined by the amount of grafting and flap required for proper reconstruction. The site for reconstruction itself will be treated in a way that creates the most seamless and smooth resurfacing of the skin possible. Any scars that develop should fade over time with proper care. This includes keeping the skin away from direct sunlight to speed the healing process and applying proper nutrients to the skin with topical creams.

Reconstruction surgery for skin cancer in San Diego can vary based on a multitude of factors. These may include: The amount and size of treatment areas

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Surgical fees
  • Facility fees

You will receive a personalized quote after you consult with Coastal Plastic Surgeons.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will my final reconstruction results be visible?

Your final results will become apparent over time as your graft or flap adjusts to the skin’s blood flow. Over the following six months, the body should provide the area with the proper nourishment.
Your results are permanent, as the extracted tissue will begin to regenerate in the treated area. The final visibility of results depends on the amount of tissue harvested and reapplied, although patients typically see fully recovered results within a year.

Am I a candidate for reconstruction surgery for skin cancer removal in San Diego?

Ideal candidates for reconstruction are non-smokers who are physically healthy and do not have medical conditions that hinder healing. Ideal candidates should have realistic expectations of their results and be willing to consider a donor area of their body to reconstruct their defective skin.

Will reconstruction help the structure of my nose?

Nose reconstruction after skin cancer can be performed to help the defects and disfigurement caused by skin cancer. The nose is a complex structure and requires specialized techniques to accommodate the various angles of the nose. Many patients find success with reconstruction that only addresses the outer layer of the nose. More extensive reconstruction may require more than one procedure to complete an aesthetically and functionally pleasing reconstruction. If functional treatment is required, a rhinoplasty or septoplasty may be combined for a more comprehensive correction.

How dangerous is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is usually the result of sun damage and is the most common form of cancer in the United States and worldwide. The estimated five-year survival rate for U.S. patients whose melanoma is detected early is about 99 percent.