Skin Cancer Reconstruction

Periocular Skin Cancer
Picture taken from asoprs.org

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer generally occurs on the outer layer of skin, known as the epidermis. The epidermis consists of a multitude of cells, including flat squamous cells, round basal cells, and melanocyte cells. The actual skin cancer can arise from any of the aforementioned cell types. Skin cancer can be diagnosed with a biopsy.

Skin cancer that occurs on or around the eye area is known as periocular skin cancer. Periocular skin cancer most commonly occurs within basal and squamous cells. These particular types of cancer are called basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. While cancer within the melanocyte skills is less common, it is far more serious. If you notice a change in size, shape, and/or color from a mole on your body; or a mole that commonly bleeds and becomes tender, you should schedule an appointment with a physician as soon as possible.

Skin cancer on or around the eye area, especially on the eyelid, is exceedingly common. The eyelid is easily affected because the layer of skin protecting it is extremely thin. Skin cancer that occurs on the eyelid often appears as a painless bump, a scab that won’t heal, or an area of missing eyelashes.  The most common reason for skin cancer is sun exposure, although it may also be hereditary.

What is the Process Like for a Skin Cancer Reconstruction?

The most effective treatment for periocular skin cancers is surgical excision. The process for surgical excision of a skin cancer is reliant on two principles — total removal and reconstruction. Two different surgical methods exist to remove the cancer. Your physician may recommend Mohs surgery, which must be done by a certified dermatologist. This surgical technique calls for the removal of the lesion layer by layer. After each layer is removed, it is analyzed microscopically to check for any remaining cancer cells. This process is then repeated until the complete removal of the cancerous cells is reached.

Another method of surgical excision is done by using frozen sections. This method is done by removing the lesion along with a small piece of normal tissue. The removed tissue is then frozen and examined to ensure complete removal of the cancerous cells. Regardless of which method is used, the reconstruction will take place after complete removal of the skin cancer is reached.

Our surgeons are experts in the detection, treatment, and reconstruction of eyelid skin cancer.  Our goal is to help you maintain your vision, keep your eyes comfortable, and maintain a natural appearance after your reconstruction.

When Should I Undergo Skin Cancer Treatment?

You should schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as you notice symptoms that could be an indication of skin cancer. Early and aggressive treatment is necessary to ensure a low chance of reoccurrence. Schedule an appointment if you notice:

  • Any changes to the skin around the eye area. This could include a painless bump, non-healing scab, or a group of missing eyelashes.
  • Any changes to a mole around the eye area. This could include a bleeding or tender mole; as well as a change in the size, shape, and/or color of the mole.

If you notice any of these aforementioned issues, consider contacting us for a consultation with one of our board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeons.

For more on how to prevent skin cancer, click here.

For more information on post-operative care, click here.

For before and after pictures of our skin cancer reconstruction, click here.