Significant defects may result following skin cancer excision, including those excised by the dermatologist using Mohs micrographic surgery. Commonly called Mohs procedure, this procedure entails progressive removal and examination of single layers of skin until only cancer-free tissue remains. Following Mohs surgery, many patients require plastic surgical reconstruction of the nose, ear, and face. Reconstruction of these defects is dependent on the site and extent of the defect, but may include the use of flaps or skin grafts. Although any incision through the skin will result in a scar, plastic surgeons are specially trained in techniques to minimize the visibility of a scar.
Skin lesion excision is a procedure in which the plastic surgeon removes a cancerous skin lesion and an area of surrounding tissue called the margin.
There are three types of skin cancer: Basal cell cancer is the least invasive with the least amount of margin removed; squamous cell is more aggressive with a wider margin required. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, occurring in the cells that produce pigment.
Many types of benign skin growths may look like malignant tumors and are removed for a biopsy. If a lesion looks precancerous it may be removed as a precaution.
If the lesion is indeed cancer we will then excise the lesion with appropriate margins and then reconstruct the defect.