Skin Cancer of the Face

Skin Cancer ReconstructionAlthough facial skin cancer may be for many patients a preventable condition, the incidence of skin cancers, especially of the face, is still on the rise. The two most common skin carcinomas of the face are basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer.

One main difference between these two cancers is that squamous cell carcinomas, once they have reached a certain size, can spread via the lymphatic drainage system to involve lymph nodes whereas basal cell cancers grow only locally.
Melanomas originate from pigment-producing cells within the skin. Because the usually produce melanin, melanomas have often, but not always, a brown color. Melanomas are feared because of their tendency to travel early within the lymph and blood stream to other sites within the body than the skin.

Therefore, the key to successful treatment to all skin cancers is early diagnosis. Commonly, the first step is biopsy of a suspicious lesion. Once the diagnosis of skin cancer has been confirmed, the treatment plan usually includes excision. Luckily, most malignancies of the facial skin are curable by surgical removal.

Reconstruction for Skin Cancers

The second most important emphasis in the treatment plan for skin cancers is the cosmetic appearance after the cancer has been successfully removed. Given the aesthetically important and sensitive nature of the face, an unsightly scar from an excision site that simply has been pulled together is today often preventable and unnecessary. Luckily, various surgical and non-surgical techniques are available to the facial plastic surgeon for an optimal result.

For instance, if a skin graft is necessary to repair a skin defect, it is crucial to choose the donor site that lends the skin very carefully for optimal color, thickness and texture match and to prevent a final “patched-up” appearance. In other scenarios, delicate skin flaps may be of advantage for best results. Choosing and designing these facial flaps carefully and executing the reconstruction with meticulous attention to detail is the secret to success for these restorative procedures. Most procedures for skin cancer excision and reconstruction are performed safely in an outpatient setting.

Equally important to preparation and careful execution of the reconstruction is attentive aftercare to ensure proper healing – sometimes with the help of ancillary measures. Dr. Fechner’s hands-on and close follow-up ensures a closely managed and supervised recovery.

For more information, please follow the links below:

Facial Reconstructive Surgery Services

* Results may vary by individual.