Plastic Surgery for Skin Cancer Removal

Skin cancer affects millions of people in the U.S. each year. When identified early and removed, most types of skin cancer are treatable. Moh’s surgery is one of the most effective ways to remove skin cancer cells and stop the spread of this deadly disease. Unfortunately, this surgery does require layers of skin and tissue be removed to ensure all the cancer is gone. To reduce disfigurement, plastic surgery can be performed during or after Moh’s surgery to preserve a natural appearance.

Many skin cancer lesions appear on the face, neck, arms or chest where the skin is more likely to be exposed. When skin cancer is removed through Moh’s surgery, it can leave a hole where the skin and tissue was removed. While many surgeons and dermatologists can perform Moh’s surgery, they may not have the skills to restore the skin and tissue appearance.

Restoration Facial Plastic Surgery

Many times, skin cancer can occur on facial features. When removed with Moh’s surgery from eyelids, lips or the nose, it can alter the appearance of the face. Facial reconstruction to restore the skin and tissue can help patients recovering from skin cancer feel and look like themselves again. Noses can be reshaped; lips or eyelids can be reconstructed. Skin, cartilage and tissue grafts can be used to replace what was removed during skin cancer removal.

If you or a loved one is facing skin cancer removal or already had Moh’s surgery, consider consulting a plastic surgeon. There are options available to reconstruct lost skin and tissue from Moh’s surgery and restore a natural appearance. Fighting cancer is difficult enough – survivors deserve to look and feel like themselves after the cancer is removed.

Posted on behalf of:
New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai
310 East 14th Street
6th Floor, North Bldg
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 381-6110

Mohs Surgery

Despite more public awareness about skin cancer and what causes it, an estimated two million people are diagnosed with some type of skin cancer each year in the United States. And according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one person dies every hour from melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. 

Despite those high numbers, it is also true that most skin cancers, the more common basal and squamous cell cancers, have a very high cure rate if diagnosed and treated early. In fact, the primary surgical procedure to remove skin cancer, Mohs surgery, is credited with curing 99 percent of initial cancers and 95 percent of recurrent cancers, including even some melanoma. 

In a nutshell, Mohs surgery, developed in 1930 by Dr. Frederic Mohs, is a form of micrographic surgery in which the surgeon removes tissue, maps it with a microscope and then determines where to cut next. The procedure is repeated until all traces of the cancer are removed, and the maximum amount of healthy tissue is preserved. 

Mohs surgery, however, usually results in scarring and deformities in aesthetic areas like the face and neck. So, reconstructive surgery is often needed. Sometimes, this is done by the Mohs surgeon – usually a specially trained dermatologist – and sometimes, by a separate Mohs plastic surgeon. 

One drawback with Mohs surgery is that the procedure is sometimes lengthy. It is usually done on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic, as the patient waits. The process of cutting and mapping can take an entire day, depending on how much cancer is found. This obviously requires a lot of patience on the part of the patient, and a great focus on the part of the Mohs surgeon.