Surgical skin cancer treatment involves making an incision around the cancerous or potentially cancerous cells and a vital ‘cuff’ of surrounding healthy skin (called the margin) to ensure all cancerous cells are removed.
Your plastic surgeon makes every effort to ensure your skin cancer is removed and that surrounding tissue is free from dangerous cells, as ‘narrow’ (minimal and inadequate) or incomplete safety margins are the main cause of cancer recurrence.
Also critical to the optimal treatment of the skin cancer is an evaluation by a trained pathologist, who independently verifies:
- Cancer type
- Cancer grade
- Level of spread
- Safety margins around the tumour
If the safety margins are inadequate, your plastic surgeon will recommend a further re-excision until cancer clearance is achieved.
Critically, all our surgeons at Brighton Plastic Surgery are highly trained in all the reconstructive surgery options, including complex and highly skilled reconstructive microsurgery operations.
Our surgeons will never compromise the completeness of the cancer excision due to apprehension about whether we will be able to fix the defect created afterwards. The resulting reconstruction will be aesthetic and functional.
Nevertheless, prevention is better than cure: it is so important to get to know your skin, ensuring any abnormalities, changes, or new spots are checked by a doctor.
Your GP or dermatologist can then refer you to a plastic surgeon. Our surgeons work closely with multi-disciplinary teams such as at the Victorian Melanoma Service and the Alfred and St Vincent’s Hospitals.
Following skin cancer surgery, it is essential to continue visiting your doctor regularly for check-ups. The Brighton Plastic Surgery team is happy to liaise with your local skin doctors to ensure optimal skin cancer surveillance.