Facial Skin Cancer Mohs Surgery in Phoenix
Also Serving Patients in Scottsdale & Mesa
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Most skin cancer cases develop on the face, particularly on the delicate skin of the eye area. Skin cancer is caused by exposure to UV-B radiation from the sun or tanning beds. It is more common in fair skin individuals and people with genetic predisposition. Signs of facial skin cancer include elevations, or painless nodules, on the eyelids, eyebrows or face. Ulcerations, bleeding, crusting, surface blood vessels or otherwise abnormal skin conditions may also develop. Skin cancer on the eyelids can also manifest itself in missing or distorted eyelashes. Ultimately, the diagnosis of skin cancer is made by performing a biopsy during the office visit. Though some types of skin cancer are less aggressive than other types, treatment is necessary for all kinds of skin cancer to prevent them from spreading to other areas of the body.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Both types of skin cancer start in the skin and cause destruction of normal adjacent tissue and usually do not spread (metastasize). Both basal and squamous cell carcinoma are slow-growing and painless. Once they are detected and treated in a timely fashion, there is an excellent chance of excising the tumor completely and achieving cure.
Sebaceous gland carcinoma and malignant melanoma are more serious forms of skin cancer because of the possibility of spreading into other organs by blood (metastasize). Although very rare, sebaceous cell carcinoma has a propensity to involve the eyelids and may be mistaken for a stye or infection. These types of skin cancer need to be detected early and treated aggressively once the diagnosis is confirmed by biopsy.
Arizona Oculoplastic Specialists treats all major types of facial skin cancer in Phoenix and Mesa, from the more common basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma to melanoma. Our skin cancer practice is based on referrals by dermatologists and skin cancer specialists ( Mohs specialist) throughout the state. Dr Ghafouri works closely with board certified fellowship-trained dermatological surgeons. As plastic surgery sub-specialist, he performs the necessary repair and reconstruction of skin defects after removal by the Mohs technique.
The Benefits of Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer Treatment
Mohs surgery is the latest and most precise surgical technique used for skin cancer treatment. As such, it has many benefits, which include:
- Minimizing damage to the surrounding, healthy tissue
- Ensuring that tumor removal is complete and that no cancerous skin cells remain
- Reducing the need for additional treatment and/or surgery
- The highest cure rate (99 percent) of all skin cancer treatments
Mohs Surgery and Skin Cancer Repair Details
There are two very important things to keep in mind with regard to the management of eyelid and facial skin cancers. Firstly, complete removal of the tumor is critical to minimize the possibility of recurrence. Secondly, aesthetic reconstructive surgery is necessary to maintain form and function.
First, a dermatologist specializing in skin cancer (Mohs surgeon) removes the skin cancer. This is accomplished at the office where only a local anesthetic is used to numb the area being treated. In this method the tumor is eliminated by removing thin layers of skin and tissue with a scalpel. After each layer is removed, the doctor uses a microscope to thoroughly examine the removed tissue, checking for cancerous cells. If these cells are present, another thin layer of tissue is removed and examined; this process is repeated until no cancerous cells are detected. The process may take 1-4 hours depending on the size of the area and its complexity.
Once the tumor is completely, the patient is instructed to come to our outpatient surgical facility for reconstructive surgery. The repair may be performed the same day as Mohs procedure or the next day. All the scheduling and coordination is done through our office. Dr. Ghafouri performs the reconstructive surgery needed to preserve normal function and the best aesthetic outcome for the treatment area. This may involve the use of skin grafts (skin from another part of body) , skin flaps ( recruitment and transfer of skin from the surrounding area) and/or strategically placed sutures.
Recovering from Surgery
After surgery, patients typically feel only mild discomfort, which can be managed using an over-the-counter pain relief medication. Depending on the size of the treatment area and the aggressiveness of the treatment, it may take up to six months for the area to heal. Once it has healed completely, patients will need regular follow-up appointments with their physician to ensure that a) the skin cancer does not reappear and b) if it does, that it is detected early so that it can be treated immediately. Most patients are able to return to work, exercise and other normal activities within 1-2 weeks depending on the extent d of the reconstructive surgery. Dr. Ghafouri will provide post-operative instructions to follow to ensure proper healing.
How long does the surgical repair procedure take?
The procedure itself can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated and the aggressiveness of the treatment. You will need to arrive at the surgery center approximately one hour before surgery and will be discharged about 30-45 minutes after the surgery.
Is the surgery painful?
The surgery itself is not painful, as the treatment area is numbed using a local anesthetic. After the treatment, there may be some mild discomfort as the patient heals. However, this is easily managed with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol.
What type of anesthesia is used during the surgery?
A local anesthetic with or without IV sedation is used to numb the treatment area.
Will the surgery leave a noticeable scar?
Any form of therapy for skin cancer will leave a scar. However, we make every effort to minimize scarring and obtain optimal cosmetic results during the reconstructive surgery. After the surgery, additional medications or injections are used to eliminate the possibility of any visible scar.
Are there any risks associated with this surgery?
As with any type of surgery, general risks include infection, poor healing, scarring and bleeding. Please read our informed consent form for a more detail discussion. In the hands of an experienced and specialized facial surgeon like Dr. Ghafouri skin cancer reconstructive surgery is very safe, with minimal risk of complications.
Why should I have Dr. Ghafouri perform my eyelid and facial skin cancer treatment?
Dr. Ghafouri is a facial plastic surgeon with extensive training and experience in skin cancer reconstruction surgery. He has performed over 12,000 major reconstructive surgeries in his career, and has the surgical precision and knowledge necessary to preserve both the form and function of the eyelids after skin cancer removal.