What To Expect When You Have Skin Cancer Surgery

Posted on: 5 May 2016

If you're scheduled for skin cancer surgery, you may be worried about a lot of things. Cancer in itself is a scary diagnosis to deal with. Besides the stress of that, you may also be worried how the surgery will affect your appearance, especially if the cancer is on your face. Thanks to the surgical techniques used today, your doctor is able to remove the precise amount of tissue needed to get rid of the cancer while doing the least amount of damage to your appearance. Here is some information on how the procedure works.

Removing Cancer A Layer At A Time

Every skin cancer surgery is different because a lot of factors come into play. Your doctor considers the depth of the cancer under your skin along with the location of the tumor when deciding on the best way to remove it. One of the most effective types of surgery involves removing the cancer a thin layer at a time. When a layer of tissue is shaved off, it is frozen and examined under a microscope for cancer cells. This allows your doctor to spare as much healthy tissue as possible while making sure no cancer cells are left behind. Your doctor keeps removing layers of tissue until no cancer is seen under the microscope. The advantage to doing this type of surgical procedure is that your tissue is examined during the surgery, so the doctor knows exactly how much tissue to remove. This also reduces the risk of needing a second procedure because the doctor missed some cancer cells.

Having The Procedure As An Outpatient

This type of skin cancer surgery is usually done as an outpatient. You may be in the office for several hours since the procedure is drawn out by examining each layer of tissue removed. It is difficult to predict how extensive the surgery will be until it is underway and the doctor uncovers the roots of the cancer. However, you shouldn't experience much pain. The doctor will give you a local anesthetic if you need it in the area to be treated. You will be awake and alert throughout the process, and you'll know when you leave the doctor's clinic if all the cancer was removed.

Dealing With The Scar

It will take many months for the scar from your surgery to stabilize. The scar will change size and shape as your skin grows new tissue. If your surgery wasn't too deep, the scar may be nearly invisible. If you are left with a noticeable scar, there are several ways to deal with it. You may be able to cover it with cosmetics. Also, if the scar is a depression in your skin, a collagen filler may plump the area so it is less noticeable. If the scar is raised, you may consider a laser resurfacing treatment to make it smooth. If your cancer was deep under your skin and the doctor had to remove a lot of tissue, then you may need some reconstructive surgery to improve the appearance of your skin.

While being left with a scar isn't a pleasant thing to deal with, it is much better than the consequences of not removing the cancer. You can be sure that any scar you have will be the minimum necessary when you work with an experienced doctor using the most up-to-date techniques. For more information, contact a dermatology office like Strnot Dermatology.