Skin cancer of all types, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, is a very common problem seen by dermatologists and surgeons. Surgery to completely remove these cancers can leave large defects, which may be particularly devastating on the face.
Skin cancer on the face is commonly treated with Mohs surgery, which is a technique used by dermatologists to minimize the amount of tissue that must be taken to safely remove cancer.
For repair of defects that are large and/or involve very delicate areas on the face, patients are often referred to facial plastic surgeons to achieve the best cosmetic result. There are several Mohs surgeons in the Chicago area who refer patients to Dr. Thomas for this reason.
In many cases, we coordinate with the dermatologists so that Dr. Thomas can repair the defect on the same day as the Mohs surgery is performed. Although some plastic surgeons charge a cosmetic fee for performing repair, Dr. Thomas understands the functional importance of the procedure and submits his charges to insurance.
Dr. Thomas is an expert in the reconstruction of defects left after the removal of skin cancers. He understands the importance of replacing missing tissue with similar-appearing tissue – replacing “like with like” – and has experience with all of the repair techniques that may be employed to achieve this.
After surgery to remove cancer, he will look at the size and location of your individual defect to decide which techniques would offer you the best cosmetic and functional result. He will then discuss the options with you, make recommendations, and answer any questions you may have about the procedure. Additionally, he is a world-renowned expert in scar revision and can counsel you on options to optimize the appearance of your scar once you have finished the initial healing process.
Depending on how large your defect is and what kind of repair is required, Dr. Thomas will either recommend doing it under local anesthesia in the clinic procedure room or under sedation or general anesthesia in the operating room. In most cases, it is possible to perform the repair in our clinic procedure room on the same day as the surgery to remove your cancer.
Regardless of what type of surgery will be required and where it will be performed, Dr. Thomas and his staff will ensure that you are fully informed and feel comfortable with all aspects of your care. We understand that having the tissue removed from your face can be daunting, and we are always available to respond to any questions or concerns you may have throughout this process.