Skin Cancer Removal: Cost, Risks, Recovery

Overview

Skin cancer is a condition that causes abnormal growth of skin cells. Like any form of cancer, it may require surgery to remove skin lesions or tumors. To minimize the effects of scars after surgery, your plastic surgeon will use specialized techniques. With them, your appearance will be preserved to the greatest extent as your skin recover.

In some cases, your plastic surgeon may cut the tumor from the skin. Some of the normal skin around the tumor is also removed. In particular, Mohs surgery is often used to remove skin cancers on the face. Other skin cancer removal surgeries include shave excision, electrodesiccation and curettage, cryotherapy and lasers.

Candidates

A good candidate for skin cancer removal includes:

  • Physically healthy and do not have other illnesses that impair the healing
  • Nonsmokers
  • Non-drug users
  • Have a positive and realistic outlook toward the surgery

Costs

According to the Archives of Dermatology, the average costs range from $1,732 for stage I disease to $56,059 for stage IV disease.

Many factors can affect the cost of treatment, such as the size, type, depth and location of the lesions, and the stage of disease when it was first detected. Most insurance will cover treatments for removing skin cancer.

Risks

Like any other reconstructive surgery, skin cancer removal surgery will also lead to complications and risks. Some of these risks include:

  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Temporary or permanent damage to deeper structures, such as nerves, blood vessels and muscles
  • Infection
  • Poor healing of incisions
  • Possibility of revision surgery
  • Recurrence of skin cancer
  • Systemic spread of skin cancer
  • Failure to absorb “graft” in a skin graft surgery

Preparation

Before taking a skin cancer removal surgery, here are some things that you should keep in mind:

  • Make a reservation for your surgery appointment in advance and show up on time
  • Avoid taking aspirin, blood thinners, vitamin E, and herbal supplements for at least ten days before surgery
  • Stop smoking two weeks prior to surgery and for two weeks thereafter, because it is bad for healing
  • Shave hairs around before your appointment
  • Limit the movement of the body area that your surgeon will treat as much as possible

Surgical steps

First, anesthetic drugs will be applied to your body for your comfort during the surgery.

Second, to remove lesions, your surgeon may consider several options.

  • Excision is a simple surgical process that removes lesions from skin, usually performed with closure.
  • Frozen sections (small parts of the tissue quickly frozen after being removed) will be used to discover how deep the affected area is.
  • Mohs surgery looks for an area where the skin cancer has not spread. This kind of area is called clear margin. It helps your surgeon decide whether to reconstruct the wound or not.

At last, a local flap helps to reconstruct a skin cancer lesion. In this step, surrounding healthy tissue is adjusted over the wound. And skin graft is another alternative. Your surgeon may remove a bit of skin from one area of your body and place it to the wound.

Recovery

For ideal results, you need to be aware of several things during recovery.

  • Follow all wound care instructions, such as cleansing and applying topical medications
  • Keep your incision sites clean and protect them from potential injuries
  • Try to limit strenuous movement
  • Never expose yourself to strong light until your surgeon permits

Healing will continue for many weeks or months. However, incision lines take a year or more to refine and fade. That is to say, you probably need more than a year to have a complete recovery.

Keywords: skin cancer removal.

Related posts:

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What Are the Types of Skin Cancers?

Skin Cancer May Increase the Risk of Other Cancers

What Are the Treatment Options for Skin Cancer?

What Are Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.