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Skin cancer reconstruction - Uva Facial reconstructive surgery in Charlottesville, VA

Skin Cancer & Facial Reconstruction

Before & After

Skin Cancer

Cancer of the skin is the number one cancer today. It is usually the result of sun exposure throughout one’s lifetime. There are other risk factors associated with skin cancers such as being immuno-compromised, facial scars, and burns. Skin cancers can present in a variety of ways, some of which are immediately obvious while others can be very misleading and present as only superficial skin lesions. Most have been present for many months or even years. The most common type of skin cancer is called a Basal Cell Carcinoma. These tend to grow very slowly and most frequently present as a raised lesion that is smooth and occasionally shiny. Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a less common variant of skin cancer which can be more aggressive, including spreading to other parts of the body. Invasive Melanoma is the least common but most serious form of skin cancer. It usually presents as a pigmented lesion that undergoes some change in terms of size, shape, or color variation.

The treatment for skin cancers usually involves some form of excision. When they are complex or arising on the face and neck, Mohs surgery may be indicated. This is a specific technique for removing skin cancers that is performed by a dermatologic surgeon. There are other methods of treating skin cancers including radiation therapy and topical agents.The ideal treatment is individualized and should be discussed with your physician.

Facial Reconstruction

Facial Reconstructive Surgery from Jared Christophel (former faculty) on Vimeo.

Facial reconstruction is indicated following facial injury, trauma, accidents, birth defects, or after the removal of skin cancer. Reconstructive surgery can repair skin, muscles, cartilage, and the skeletal structure of the face. Many times this type of surgery is necessary to return to a more normal look or function. The results can give the patient restored confidence and even a new vigor for life.

Understanding the Procedure

Reconstructive procedures are widely varied and are often recognized by insurance companies as medically necessary. They may involve reconstruction from old scars, soft tissue injuries from motor vehicle accidents, or reconstruction following removal of skin cancers. Most of these procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and can be done under either general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation. The specific nature of the operation is dependent on the extent of injury as well as personal preferences in terms of expectations and goals. Generally speaking, the final effects from reconstructive surgery take several months to appear, mostly due to the gradual resolution of scars and discoloration. Meticulous wound care for several months is essential and includes the application of moisturizers and diligent sun protection. Your surgeon will be able to provide greater detail on the surgery itself and what to expect following the procedure.

Facial reconstruction after skin cancer excision is a major part of the treatment process. There are different types of skin cancers but most are removed surgically. The resultant defect often needs surgical repair. The extent of surgery varies widely depending on the location and complexity of the defect.