With each passing year, millions of new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. In the process of treating these malignant lesions and curing the disease, many men and women are left with disfiguring scars and deformities.
After receiving a skin cancer diagnosis, the cancerous cells typically need to be removed via Mohs surgery – which inevitably results in a scar. Mohs surgery involves removing precise layers of skin and examining each one under a microscope. The process continues until all layers of affected tissue are removed. It is often used for recurrent or aggressive cancers, as well as lesions in delicate areas, such as the nose, eyes and lips.
Once the lesion is removed via skin cancer treatment, a depression will remain. In some cases, the hole can be quite disfiguring and reconstructive surgery will be necessary. Dr. Larson is specially trained in these delicate techniques and has helped countless Tucson patients restore their normal appearance after skin cancer.
A reconstructive procedure is usually required after Mohs surgery and skin cancer treatment. It is also necessary if your cancer covered a large area of the face and body, as removing a lesion of this kind can result in a severe deformity that transforms your appearance.
In general, Dr. Larson recommends performing a reconstructive procedure the same day as the excision. In certain cases, the procedure can be delayed about one week or may be performed in multiple stages.
The most common reconstructive procedure after skin cancer treatment in Tucson is the flap technique. This approach involves removing a section of skin and tissue from another area of the body and transferring it to the defect. In many cases, this flap will retain its own blood supply; in others, Dr. Larson will perform microsurgery to attach new, tiny blood vessels to the site.
Flap surgery is highly effective in treating most skin cancer deformities. In most cases, the procedure will be done under twilight anesthesia, which is a combination of intravenous sedation and pain medication.
After your reconstructive procedure, you will be free to return home immediately. You may experience some pain in the surgical site during the first day, but this discomfort should resolve quickly. In the meantime, it can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
As you heal, some swelling and bruising are common. These effects should peak about two days after surgery and then gradually decrease. By eight weeks, all residual swelling should be gone and your results will be considered final.
Most of our Tucson skin cancer treatment clients are able to return to work within three to seven days and resume their normal exercise routines in two weeks. If you have any questions about the recovery period and your activity restrictions, please do not hesitate to ask Dr. Larson during your post-operative appointments.
Your Tucson reconstructive procedure after skin cancer treatment will result in some scarring – it’s an inevitable part of any surgery.
However, the severity of these marks will depend on the location, size and extent of the cancer. Dr. Larson will go to great lengths to hide the scars within the natural contours of your face and body, so that they are as discreet as possible once you’ve healed.
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