Winter is the perfect time for sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows, sitting by the fire with loved ones, ice skating, and skiing, and is also a great time to address skin cancer surgery scars. While the first thought you may have when diagnosed with skin cancer is how to get rid of it, after surgery you might think about how to reduce scarring. The relief of having skin cancer removed should be thrilling, especially given that more than 500,000 new cases of skin cancer are reported annually. Skin cancer can be dangerous and have effects on the body that go well beyond the skin. Skin cancer can also be disfiguring, and with 80 percent of all cases occurring in visible areas such as the face, head, or neck, they may also be embarrassing.
Skin cancer treatment, whether surgical or otherwise may be lifesaving, but often it leaves permanent scarring and occasional changes to facial structures. Your plastic surgeon may be an integral part of your skin cancer treatment team, and winter may be the ideal time to address previous skin cancer scars as well.
Many of us spend more time indoors during the winter, and for this reason alone, winter may be the best time to treat your skin cancer scars. For proper healing, it is important to minimize UVA and UVB sun exposure, and you may not want to venture out as frequently as you might over the summer months while you heal. Winter gives you the perfect excuse to pare down your schedule, allowing you plenty of time to relax and recuperate. Most of us have less energy in the winter, and prefer to hang out at home with a good book by a crackling fire, which would be a pretty good way to relax and heal without worrying about sun and environmental pollutants while you heal from revision surgery.
There are several methods to treating skin cancer scars, and your plastic surgeon will evaluate your scars during a consultation and make suggestions regarding the best approach to your unique needs and goals. Depending on the size, depth, color, and other factors of your scar, your procedure might be straightforward and require little more than medical day spa skin treatments. For deeper, larger, or more complex scars, you may require actual surgery. Some patients will benefit from one treatment or surgery, while those with more complex needs may require a series of treatments or staged (multi-step) surgeries. All of these details should be discussed during your consultation and tailored to your individual situation.
Surgical repair or revision of skin cancer scars may include simple scar revisions that require little more than removing excessive scar tissue and revising the edges of the scar. Tissue flap transfers involve using a flap of skin from elsewhere on the body, ideally a less visible area such as the buttocks, and transferring the tissue to the scar site. For patients who require more involved treatment, tissue transfer procedures may be beneficial, as they make use of your body’s own tissues and reduce the risk of some complications. By using your own body’s skin, the risk of rejection by the treatment site becomes much lower than with other graft or tissue transfer procedures. In the end, the goal for most patients will be restoration of the treated area with an improved appearance. Some patients may also experience improved function of facial features.
To learn more about skin cancer scar revision and treatment options, call Monarch Plastic Surgery today. Restoring your appearance and the function of your features can help improve your overall quality of life and restore self-esteem. We understand the seriousness of skin cancer, but we also understand the psychological and physiological benefits of restorative treatments after skin cancer. Call us today at (913) 663-3838 for our Leawood and Lansing offices or at (816) 436-3262 for our North Kansas City office to schedule a consultation.