Skin Cancer Surgery by Melissa Johnson MD, FACS
Skin Cancer Removal Procedures
Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells. Three major types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Limiting or avoiding ultraviolet radiation exposure can reduce your risk of developing a skin cancer. Early detection of skin cancer provides the best chance for successful treatment. Precancerous skin lesions such as actinic keratosis can be treated with anti-cancer creams applied to the skin.
Treatment options depend on the size, type, depth, and locations of the skin cancer. Small cancers on the surface of the skin can sometimes be treated with the initial biopsy if the entire growth is removed. Excisional surgery can be appropriate for all types of skin cancer. The cancer is removed with a margin of healthy skin surrounding it. For larger cancers or worse types, a wider excision may be recommended and required.
If the skin cancer is large, some form of reconstructions may be required to repair the defect. Options may include a skin graft, bilobed flap, forehead flap. The type of reconstruction needed is dependent on the size and location of the defect.
What do I need to schedule a skin cancer consultation?
If you are interested in a Skin Cancer consultation, you MUST have your referring provider send us notes and pathology from your office visit with them documenting information about the location, size and description of the growth. If you are referring yourself to our office, that step won’t be required. A history of the growth would be helpful in terms of how long has it been present, rate of growth and characteristics such as painful, bleeding, etc....
Your referring provider can fax the information to Pioneer Valley Plastic Surgery at (413) 731-7870. Once we receive the information, we can schedule a consultation for you.
If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation as Self-Pay, you can call our office at (413) 731-7877. You will need to pay the $100 consultation fee over the phone when you schedule the appointment.
We Love Questions!
Skin Cancer Surgery FAQs
What should I expect during a skin cancer consultation?
During your consultation, you will meet with our providers who will educate and counsel you on your best treatment options for your concerns. You will be asked about your medical conditions, what medications you are taking, any drug allergies, tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. It is very important that you are open and honest with your providers during your consultation. Photos will be taken during your consultation to have for your medical record.
Will I be seen by the plastic surgeon?
Yes. Dr. Johnson will meet with you and she will discuss all your surgical options. Dr. Johnson will provide you with the necessary information so that you feel confident and comfortable with your surgical decision.
Is the plastic surgeon board certified?
Yes. Dr. Johnson is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is a proud member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Additionally, she is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which recognizes surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery.
Will I be charged for an initial consultation?
If your issue is covered by insurance, then your initial consultation will be billed through your insurance carrier. After your consultation, if all criteria is met, we will attempt to obtain authorization through your insurance carrier to cover the surgery.
If the office visit or procedure is not covered by your insurance carrier (for example, skin tag removal), you will be responsible for the consult fee as well as the procedure costs. Consult fees of $100 are due when booking the appointment. The consult fee will be applied to cost of the procedure you have done by Dr. Johnson.
Where can I find more information about skin cancer removal?
Research on reputable internet sites such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons can be very informative to help provide basics about the procedure and your recovery. However, the best information will be obtained by making an appointment and speaking with Dr. Johnson. At the time of your consultation we will provide you with all the needed information for you to be able to make a comfortable, confident decision about having surgery. It's a good idea to write down any questions or concerns you have so they can be fully addressed at your consultation. Know what your surgical expectations are so Dr. Johnson can discuss them with you. If you are a smoker we recommend you quit to help reduce risks during wound healing. We also recommend a healthy lifestyle to help your recovery process.
How should I prepare for surgery?
Prior to surgery you may be asked to get a medical clearance from your primary care physician. You may need to get blood work and or an EKG prior to surgery. You may also be asked to stop certain medications prior to surgery to minimize your risk of complications.
Can I drive after skin cancer surgery?
All procedures done with anesthesia require that you have someone to drive you to and from your surgery and to stay with you for at least the first 24 hours after your surgery.
Where will my skin cancer removal surgery be performed?
When possible skin cancer removal is done in a procedure room at Pioneer Valley Plastic Surgery. Dr. Johnson also has privileges at Baystate Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center. Both are accredited by the Joint Commission and have been awarded the Gold Seal of Approval, and both are conveniently located in Springfield, MA.
What are the immediate results of the skin cancer surgery?
The results of most surgeries are seen immediately following the procedure, although initial results will be somewhat obscured by swelling and bruising. You will be dramatically improved by appearance and feel.
Will I need additional skin cancer surgery?
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Good results are expected, but there is no guarantee. In most instances expectations are met with one single surgical procedure, however, additional surgery may be necessary if expectations are not met.
Are there risks involved with skin cancer removal
Yes, there are risks with any surgical procedure. The most common risks with a skin cancer removal are pain, infection, hematoma/seroma, unsatisfactory scarring or results, or skin numbness.
What should I do after skin cancer surgery?
It is very important that you follow our post-operative instructions in order to achieve surgical success. You want to limit your activity to allow proper healing of your incisions. Excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or increased motion to the incisions can lead to healing complications.
What should I do if I experience symptoms after skin cancer surgery?
If you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. You may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
Skin Cancer Removal
in the Springfield, MA area