Skin Cancer Reconstruction Using a Tissue Flap
Did you know that skin cancer can be a life-threatening condition, particularly in the case of melanoma? There are two main kinds of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma.
Understanding Types of Skin Cancer
It is possible for melanoma to develop within an existing mole or in the form of a dark spot. As a dark spot, it is likely to appear on the neck, back, head, or behind the legs. The mole, in the case of melanoma, tends to look uneven and may have no fixed shape, color, or border.
As far as non-melanoma skin cancers are concerned, they could be squamous cell carcinoma or basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma usually appears like wounded skin or collection of tissue that doesn’t heal. Basal cell carcinoma, on the other hand, may look like a waxy spot that bleeds and crusts when subjected to pressure.
Skin Cancer Removal
If you have skin cancer, removal of the growth is an extremely important step. In case of early detection, it is quite easy to remove moles as well as other growths. On some occasions, though, removal of growths can be more complicated. This is when a patient may require reconstructive surgery.
What Is Reconstructive Surgery for Skin Cancer?
For skin cancer, your doctor might prescribe surgery as the most suitable treatment for the removal of growth and prevention of further spreading. A reconstructive surgery might be recommended depending on the skin cancer type and the amount of tissue and skin surrounding the cancer that needs removal.
In a reconstructive surgery, the doctor will work on replacing the tissue and skin that was removed and reducing any scarring.
In many cases, skin cancer reconstruction utilizes the patient’s own body tissue in order to reconstruct skin damaged by cancer. The tissue, generally called a flap, can be made up of skin, muscle, bone, fat, or even a combination of some or all these structures.
To harvest a flap for reconstruction, autologous donor tissue from one part of your body (on a vein and artery) is first isolated. It is then removed and used it for reconstruction of the skin.
Local vs. Free
When the skin cancer isn’t too large, a local flap reconstruction surgery may be performed by the surgeon to restore both function and form of the surgical site. In this kind of surgery, part of the underlying tissue and skin near the wound is used. This flap continues to be attached by one of its ends; this allows it to receive the natural blood supply and be nourished by it. The surgeon repositions the flap on top of the wounded body area.
It is also possible to achieve free-tissue transfer, where the tissue is fully separated from the body before being grafted; this can be done with the support of a highly powerful microscope. This microscope offers 50 times more magnification as compared to the naked eye.
During free-tissue transfer, surgeons make use of stitches thinner than even a hair to reconnect the small blood vessels in the free flap and the recipient vessels located in the reconstruction area.
Arrange Your Consultation
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Chase Lay, a highly skilled facial plastic surgeon with years of experience, if you would like to find out more about skin cancer removal and skin reconstruction. To arrange a consultation, contact our office.