Skin cancer can be a frightening and dangerous condition, but many patients find themselves almost as nervous about the treatment as they are about the cancer itself. Although localized skin cancers typically do not require protracted and intense programs like chemotherapy, they are most often treated through surgical removal of the affected area. This surgery, known as Mohs surgery, is specifically designed to remove as little skin as possible, but if you are worried about scarring or a visible dent in your flesh, you may be interested to learn about the cosmetic options available both during and after the procedure.
Considering the Location of the Surgery
During Mohs surgery, you will typically be placed under localized anesthetic, unless your skin cancer is located in a particularly difficult spot. The surgeon will then gradually remove layers from your skin one by one, examining each layer until no more cancerous cells can be detected. This minimizes your loss while still efficiently scooping out the cancer, and many patients recover with minimal scarring. But if your operation is taking place in a highly visible area such as your face or arms, it may be worth your time to consider more advanced wound closure methods or even plastic surgery.
Requesting a Plastic Surgeon
Under regular circumstances, your surgeon will close the wound using his or her best judgement, placing an emphasis on both practicality and aesthetics. It is, however, often possible to request that a plastic surgeon also be present during the procedure to take over once the cancer has been removed. A plastic surgeon may simply suture the wound a little more neatly, but this also opens up the options of skin grafts and other methods that will minimize the appearance of your surgical site and may lead to less scarring in the long run. Alternatively, you may choose to have your skin cancer surgeon close the wound as normal and then seek out a plastic surgeon later on.
Consulting With Your Surgeon
Whenever you have doubts or concerns about an upcoming procedure, the best step you can take is nearly always to speak to your doctor or surgeon, such as at Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center. Seeking the advice of a medical professional familiar with your case can quickly put your fears to rest or change certain aspects of the operation to accommodate your priorities. By asking questions, exploring your options and making the most informed decision possible, you should be able to emerge from your Mohs surgery free from the specter of cancer and without needing to feel self-conscious about your healing surgical site.