Dr. Craig is also a board certified plastic surgeon who has completed advanced plastic surgery training from Yale and cancer reconstruction from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where she also taught as an Assistant Professor.
What is Skin Cancer Reconstruction?
Skin cancer removal can require a significant portion of your skin and tissue to be removed to ensure that you are cancer free. Most Houston patients decide to undergo skin cancer reconstruction to minimize scarring on visible locations of their body such as the:
Skin cancer reconstruction repairs deficiencies in tissue and skin either during the initial procedure to remove skin cancer or at a second procedure, once the margins of the first surgery are found to be negative.
When Should I Consider Skin Cancer Reconstruction?
Many Houston patients consider skin cancer reconstruction as a secondary measure to improve the appearance of their scars. However, Dr. Fusi and Dr. Craig recommend consulting with a plastic surgeon prior to your surgery so that they can collaborate with your dermatologist to discuss the plan for removing your skin cancer and combining skin cancer removal surgery with reconstruction. This will improve the appearance of your scar and reduce the likelihood of a second scar revision procedure.
What Will Happen During Skin Cancer Reconstruction?
The type of skin cancer reconstruction will depend on the location, size and type of skin cancer. The three methods for skin cancer reconstruction are:
- Suturing: If the cancer is small and a minimal amount of skin and tissue was removed then the plastic surgeon will be able to simply close the incision with sutures.
- Skin flap: When a larger amount of skin and tissue is taken, the least invasive method is to create a skin flap from the surrounding non-cancerous skin and cover the surgical site.
- Skin graft: If a much larger area of skin and tissue are removed, then skin can be taken from another part of your body (donor site) and used to cover the surgical site.
Before deciding on a skin cancer reconstruction procedure, Drs. Fusi and Craig will evaluate the availability of tissue and discuss different options and their aesthetic results.
Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery
After consulting with our doctors and selecting a skin cancer reconstruction procedure, you will be scheduled for surgery at an accredited surgery center. Dr. Fusi and Dr. Craig will either perform the skin cancer removal surgery and reconstruction, or collaborate with your skin cancer surgeon. Prior to surgery you will receive anesthesia to eliminate any pain and discomfort, after that our doctors will:
- Either excise your skin cancer or wait until your skin cancer surgeon has removed the skin cancer.
- Create a flap, or graft skin from a donor site.
- Suture skin over the surgical site.
Following your operation, a dressing or bandage will protect your surgical site. Drs. Fusi and Craig will check on your healing at follow-up appointments.
Recovering From Skin Cancer Reconstruction
Recovering from skin cancer reconstruction depends on the extent of the reconstruction and type of procedure. Houston patients who require a skin or tissue graft to restore the appearance of their skin cancer scar will take longer to heal than a patient who only has sutures. For a general timeline for recovery, consult our doctors for detailed information.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, contact our Houston office at (713) 346-9909.