If the stress of skin cancer removal wasn’t enough, many patients must also cope with the after effects: conspicuous wounds and scarring at the excision site. Dr. Schmidt can reconstruct skin that has been removed due to skin cancer using a range of surgical (and sometimes non-surgical) techniques.

    While it’s important to recognize that there are limitations to reconstructive procedures, Schmidt Facial Plastic Surgery patients can rest assured that they’re in the hands of a facial anatomy expert. Once a cancer has been removed, Dr. Schmidt’s priority is to minimize the visibility of scarring and maximize a smooth, balanced appearance across the face.

    What are a patient’s skin cancer reconstruction options?

    Dr. Schmidt will consider the size and location of the cancer excision area–among several other factors of the patient’s individual anatomy–to determine which of the following reconstructive techniques will produce the best results.

    • Healing by secondary intention: This is medical terminology for guiding the body’s own wound-healing process without surgery. Though the process can take longer than surgical techniques, the advantages are that no additional incisions are created and, in the right patient, scarring can be less pronounced.
    • Skin tissue flaps: Due to the elasticity of most skin areas, tissue can sometimes be rotated or pulled over a nearby wound to cover it up. Dr. Schmidt creates incisions around the wound to release skin tissue that can fill in the excision area. Flaps can repair wounds with tissue that matches the texture and color of the excised skin.
    • Skin or cartilage grafts: For a graft, Dr. Schmidt will take skin from other parts of the face or body to repair large excision areas. Graft tissue is typically taken from the ear or neck and stitched over the wound area.

    Using these techniques, Dr. Schmidt can treat both traditional post-melanoma excision patients and Mohs excision patients. Mohs is a special skin cancer removal surgery performed by a dermatologist. Reconstruction can most often be achieved immediately after the skin cancer is removed.

    Results and recovery

    As each patient receives personalized treatment during skin cancer reconstruction, each patient will heal differently. Dr. Schmidt will provide skin care and healing instructions for the days and weeks after surgery.

    Though some scarring may remain after skin cancer reconstruction, patients can feel much more comfortable returning to the world with the face they recognize. In some cases, Dr. Schmidt may recommend additional enhancement procedures after the initial healing process to further maximize the appearance of the skin and face.

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