At Desert Bloom Plastic Surgery, we care about your health just as much as your appearance. That’s why we do whatever we can to restore aesthetics for patients who have completed a Mohs surgery to remove cancerous lesions. We offer reconstructive options to address any scarring or defects resulting from skin cancer removal. A very large majority of skin cancers can be successfully treated if they are caught early. We encourage everyone who has an area of concern on their skin to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to consider a biopsy.
The Mohs surgery was invented in the 1930s by Dr. Frederic Mohs, who worked at the University of Wisconsin. When it became a regular practice at the NYU Skin Cancer Foundation, the technique was refined, and it became a mainstream treatment option for areas such as the face. The Mohs technique is different from traditional excisional surgeries because it is completed in stages to keep the resulting defect as small as possible. During this procedure, the skin is examined under a microscope to assure the cancer has been removed completely. Because the tissue evaluation is completed on-site, smaller margins around the area of concern can be removed with each stage. At Desert Bloom Plastic Surgery, we work closely with board certified Mohs surgeons for removal of skin cancers.
Following the removal of skin cancer using the Mohs technique many people choose to have the defects closed by plastic surgeons. Areas of particular concern are usually on the face and can at times require several visits and treatments to get an excellent result.
During your consultation, Dr. Wallin will talk to you about likely reconstructive options after your Mohs procedure. Having performed several hundred reconstructions on the nose alone, Dr. Wallin has a good idea of techniques that will be needed to provide you with the best result. He will talk to you about these options and the benefits and drawbacks of each option. The office staff will coordinate with your dermatologist to schedule this reconstruction after your cancer has been removed.
A local flap is often used for reconstruction after a Mohs surgery on the nose. During the local flap procedure, Dr. Wallin will use the available skin on the nose to cover the damaged areas. The local flap is usually used in cases where the wound is small, and there is enough available soft tissue to stretch and cover the defect.
In cases where the defect is too large to cover with a local flap or areas that are known to heal well with grafts, Dr. Wallin may opt to relocate skin from other areas of the body. During your consultation, he will identify the best source of skin to be used in this procedure. Dr. Wallin’s goal is to ensure proper healing and natural-looking soft tissue both at the site of the donor skin and after repairing the defect with a graft.
In some patients, the extent of the Mohs surgery, specifically on the nose, not only damages the skin but affects the cartilage beneath the skin. In these cases, Dr. Wallin may perform a cartilage graft to repair the defect and restore the shape of the nose. In many cases, he can use the cartilage from the ear or septum, which does not negatively impact the appearance of the ear or nose.
If Dr. Wallin believes the defect after cancer removal will heal faster or have a better result with a staged procedure, he will discuss this process more with you. This technique commonly borrows skin from the forehead or cheek to reconstruct the nose. Skin is elevated from one area on the face and transposed to the area where the cancer was removed. It is left attached to the native blood supply for a period of time, usually around three weeks, and then a second procedure is performed to divide the blood supply after it is no longer needed.
If you are concerned about scarring after your procedure Dr. Wallin has several techniques to help reduce scars using specialized scar therapies, resurfacing techniques, surgical procedures and medications. These treatments are perfect for softening raised skin resulting from a wound that did not heal aesthetically or to ensure that skin transferred by Dr. Wallin looks as seamless and as natural as possible.
If you have noticed an area of concern on your skin, it’s important that you schedule an appointment immediately to have it examined. While most moles are benign and never end up turning cancerous, there is a good chance that you may develop skin cancer sometime during your life. Fortunately, most of those are common, treatable forms of skin cancer that can easily be cured with cryosurgery, scraping, or, if warranted, excision. Dr. Wallin’s urges patients to take the appropriate measures to have cancer removed thoroughly. He is then able to objectively examine the skin and underlying tissue to determine what surgical procedure will be the most successful for reconstruction. If you are planning to undergo a Mohs surgery or have healed from a Mohs surgery and want to restore your appearance, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wallin today.