If skin cancer has affected a significant amount of tissue, the patient may have to undergo a more extensive cancer removal surgery.
The procedure can create skin deformities in the treated site if aggressive surgery has been performed. This can make the site look unattractive and may sometimes cause hindrances in performing certain activities.
Advanced skin cancer reconstructive surgery techniques now provide patients with the possibility to significantly improve the appearance, form, and function of the impacted area following the cancer removal procedure.
Skin cancer reconstructive surgeons are critical players in this process, providing patients with various surgical alternatives to get their confidence, self-esteem, and dignity back. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Jamie McGinness provides skin cancer surgery to patients in Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and surrounding locations.
Options for Reconstruction
The Mohs surgeon will be able to offer the patient insights into whether the reconstruction procedure will take place right after the cancer surgery or later. However, it may not be possible to determine the extent of cancer removal in advance.
Once the treated area is free of cancer and reconstructive surgery is necessary, the surgeon will go over the skin cancer reconstructive surgery alternatives with the patient. One of the following alternatives will be chosen depending on the tumor size, depth of roots and location:
- The surgeon may allow small, simple wounds to heal on their own (a process called secondary-intention healing)
- The surgeon may close more significant wounds with stitches in a side-to-side manner
- The surgeon may use a skin graft from another region of the body or a flap to close more extensive or complicated wounds
Though rare, at times the surgeon may refer the patient to another reconstruction specialist.
Many surgeons use flap technique to address the invasive effects of cancer surgery. The surgeon grafts living tissue and skin from a donor location on the patient’s body to the affected area. The flap may have its own venous blood supply. Alternatively, the surgeon may reattach small blood vessels to the new location via microsurgery.
Flap surgery has successfully addressed various cancer deformities offering dramatic cosmetic and functional enhancements to patients. Skin cancer reconstructive surgery is a delicate procedure. Therefore, the patient should identify a surgeon who has vast experience in the area of reconstructive surgery.
The surgeon will set follow-up appointments after Mohs surgery to assess the patient’s recovery and detect any signs of cancer’s recurrence. Two out of five skin cancer patients will develop another skin cancer within a span of five years. Therefore, timely check-ups are crucial to detect any new lesions.
Emotional Impact of Reconstructive Surgery
Patients should speak to their reconstructive surgeon regarding how this procedure will impact their appearance and feelings. Understanding these changes will help patients seek proper support to manage their emotions regarding these changes.
When there are changes to the body, it is reasonable to experience changes in self-image as well. Patients can join a support group for people who have undergone similar changes. Learning from other’s experiences while sharing their own can have a cathartic impact on patients of reconstructive surgery.
Board certified dermatologist and judicious Dr. Jamie McGinness receives patients from Shiloh, IL; St. Louis, MO, and nearby areas for skin cancer surgery.
If you would like to learn more about procedures and treatments at Metro East Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center by Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Jamie L. McGinness please contact us here or call (618) 622-SKIN (7546)
Taking new patients in and around the greater St. Louis, Missouri and Illinois area: East St. Louis Missouri, Shiloh Illinois, Belleville, Millstadt, Saint Clair County, Madison County and more.