Reconstruction after the skin cancer removal is carefully planned to conceal the scar, and restore form and function. Dr. Carpin has been trained to reconstruct every portion of the human body, especially the face. Depending on the size and depth of the tumor, Dr. Carpin will skillfully restore your appearance. We often work closely with dermatologist or oncologic surgeons to remove and reconstruct the tissues. In many cases, Dr. Carpin can remove and reconstruct cancer in one procedure.
How does it work?
An unusual skin growth or changing mole must first be biopsied. Often a Dermatologist will first examine your skin and biopsy any suspicious appearing skin lesions. Once a diagnosis is made of skin cancer, the complete tumor must be removed. In some cases, a simple skin closure is not possible. Once the tumor is confirmed to be cleared, reconstruction is performed. The local tissue or sometimes distant tissue is used to complete the reconstruction. During the consultation, Dr. Carpin will discuss exactly how we confirm the tumor is removed, and the likely reconstruction.
Most procedures can be completed in the office under a local anesthetic. Once the skin cancer is removed, reconstruction is performed and the skin is closed with sutures. A light dressing is applied. In most cases, sutures are removed in 5 to 7 days. Light activity is recommended during the healing process. Scars will take up to one year to fade. Sunscreen application is essential as well as routine skin cancer screenings with a Dermatologist.
Patients experience discomfort, swelling and bruising. Other risks will be discussed during your consultation.
Scars develop based on many different factors. First, minimal tension and carefully placed sutures are ideal. Following wound care instructions are important. About two weeks after the procedure, once the wound has completely healed, a silicone gel or silicone adhesive bandage may be applied to the scar. This should continue for 6 to 8 weeks. The scar should also be shielded from sunlight for 12 months to prevent permanent darkening. The scar will continue to fade, with its final appearance settling around 12 months later. Additionally, our genetics play a role in how your scar will look long term. Patients with darker skin types tend to form thicker scars.
Abnormally thick scars, hypertrophic scars or keloids may require additional treatments to improve the appearance.