Skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the U.S. afflicts nearly 500,000 people annually. Approximately 80% of skin cancers are found in the sun-exposed areas of the face, scalp, neck and ears.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common, yet least dangerous, of all skin cancers, often appearing as a pearly, small pimple with broken capillaries on its surface. It can grow deeply beneath the skin into the underlying bone, tissue or cartilage if left untreated.
Also common in sun-exposed areas is squamous cell carcinoma, appearing early as a reddish, crusty lesion. It can invade deeper tissues or, in rare instances, spread to lymph nodes or internal organs if not recognized early.
The most serious form of skin cancer is malignant melanoma, often arising from a previously benign brownish spot or mole. It is curable if treated early but can be fatal if allowed to spread throughout the body.
Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best prognosis for any type of skin cancer. Complete removal of skin cancer by a plastic surgeon or dermatologist assures optimal success. In highly visible areas, such as the face, Dr. Rose uses all of his skills as a reconstructive and cosmetic facial surgeon to achieve the best functional outcome and most pleasing appearance of the face. Reconstructive options may range from simple excision with direct closure hidden in the facial lines to complex transfer of adjacent facial tissue, bone and/or cartilage to achieve optimal facial balance and symmetry.
Dr. Rose works very closely with several highly trained dermatologists who specialize in Moh’s micrographic excision of skin cancers. This technique, applicable to lesions primarily on the face, seeks to conserve the amount of tissue removed in skin cancer resection. In this special procedure, the skin cancer is shaved off layer by layer and evaluated immediately under the microscope to differentiate the abnormal cells from the normal tissue at the periphery. Moh’s surgery assures that all cancerous cells are removed (approximately 99% certainty), and that normal skin is left behind, thereby minimizing the size of the facial defect that needs to be reconstructed.
Dr. Rose and his staff coordinate the Moh’s excision by the dermatologist and the definitive reconstruction by Dr. Rose to minimize patient inconvenience. By prior arrangement, Moh’s excision of the skin cancer is performed under local anesthesia in the morning by the dermatologist, following which the definitive reconstruction is carried out in our office under twilight sedation, administered by a Board-certified anesthesiologist.
What To do If you are diagnosed with a skin cancer
Call Dr. Rose’s office and speak with our patient care coordinator. If you are a suitable candidate, an appointment will be made with Dr. Rose. Please bring or have your doctor fax a copy of the pathology report of the original skin biopsy. At the consultation, computer imaging technology will help you understand where the incisions will be placed and what impact the surgery will have on adjacent facial structures. Our surgical care coordinator will arrange for your surgery and initiate the pre-certification with your insurance carrier.
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