Skin Cancer Reconstruction
After the early detection of skin cancer, most are removed surgically. If it is a small cancer, it can usually be excised leaving a thin, barely visible scar. If it is larger, the cancer is scraped out with an electric current to control bleeding and kill any remaining cancer cells leaving a slightly larger, white scar that Dr. Wang attempts to blend with the surrounding skin as well as he can.
Skin cancer reconstruction can be used to effectively treat basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma when detected early, as well as moles and keratoses. Procedures include curettage and electrodessication, Mohs' surgery, cryosurgery, laser therapy, radiation and topical chemotherapy. In large areas, grafting may also be used to close the wound and reduce scarring. Dr. Wang will help you determine the treatment that is best for you.
If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer and have been referred by another doctor, or if you are trying to determine your own reconstruction options, please don't hesitate to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wang. You can call Wang Plastic Surgery at (888) 360-6688 today to schedule your appointment.
What are the common benefits of skin cancer reconstruction?
Skin cancer reconstruction can prove effective in removing harmful and benign skin growths, as well improving the appearance of the areas affected by the cancer.
Will insurance cover my skin cancer reconstruction?
It depends. While most insurance companies never pay for cosmetic procedures, coverage for reconstructive procedures varies greatly based on your insurance plan and the treatment you require. In some cases, an insurance company will pay for skin cancer reconstruction once the patient has satisfied all required co-pays. In other situations, the patient will be responsible for all costs associated with the surgery.
Because there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to insurance coverage for skin cancer reconstruction, please call us at (888) 360-6688 so we can review your case and give you specific details about your insurance coverage for the consultation and the procedure itself. Our goal is to help you maximize your insurance benefits before having to pay for your reconstructive procedure out-of-pocket.
How is skin cancer reconstruction performed?
There are several procedures for the treatment of skin cancer, they include:
- Curettage and electrodessication - During this procedure, a local anesthetic is used to numb the affected area, after which the cancer is scooped out with a sharp spoon-shaped instrument called a curette. During electrodessication, an electric current is used to control bleeding and kill and remaining cancer cells around the wound.
- Mohs' surgery - This is a special type of surgery in which highly skilled surgeons remove all cancerous tissue one layer at a time. It is particularly useful when the surgeon is unsure of the shape and depth of the tumor, as well as when tumors are large, are in hard-to-treat areas or have recurred. Under local anesthesia, the cancer is shaved off in thin layers. Each layer is checked under a microscope until it is determined that the entire tumor has been removed.
- Cryo-surgery - In this procedure, liquid nitrogen is used to freeze and kill abnormal cells. When the area thaws, the dead tissue falls off. Cryosurgery usually does not hurt, but more than one session may be required to completely remove the growth.
- Laser therapy - Often used to treat cancers that involve only the outer layer of skin, laser therapy uses a narrow beam of light to eliminate cancer cells.
- Radiation - Surgeons typically use this method in areas that are hard to treat with surgery, such as eyelids, and the tip of the nose or ears. It damages cancer cells and stops them from growing through high-energy rays. Several treatments may be required to completely destroy all of the cancer cells.
- Topical Chemotherapy - This treatment involves the application of anticancer creams or lotions to the skin. It is effective in treating actinic keratosis and cancers limited to the top layer of the skin.
How long does skin cancer reconstruction take?
The time required to perform each procedure varies. Dr. Wang will advise you of the time required for your specific procedure.
What can I expect after skin cancer reconstruction?
It is important to discuss your expectations with Dr. Wang prior to surgery, since treatment can result in scarring and changes to your appearance. Skin cancer is cured in 85 to 95 percent of all cases where treatment is received, however, skin cancer patients have a higher risk of developing cancer of the skin in a different area. As such, it is critical that you continue to examine your skin on a regular basis, as well as continue regular visits to Dr. Wang.
What is the recovery period like?
During the recovery period, you should carefully follow Dr. Wang's directions. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly during summer months and between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The use of a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 is strongly recommended when exposed to sun. Read Dr. Wang's advice about recovery from surgery.
How long before I can return to normal activity?
When you can return to normal activities depends on your course of treatment. In most cases, you may be able to move about fairly quickly. Dr. Wang will advise you how best to resume your normal activities.