Dr Nicholas Lotz
MBBS BSc(Med) FRACS
Specialist Plastic Surgeon
Main Rooms
Level 1 357 Military Rd
MOSMAN, NSW 2088
Appointments & Enquiries
info@drnicholaslotz.com.au
Ph: 1300 304 209
Fax: 02 9904 0166

Skin Cancer Surgery

The following information sheet is intended to assist patients undergoing surgery for skin cancer with Dr Nicholas Lotz.


 

Overview

Surgery for
Skin Cancer

At least 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. Men are more likely to be affected and more likely to die from skin cancer than women. Early detection and treatment is vital to have the best outcomes.

Dr Lotz has treated thousands of skin cancer patients, and is able to advise you what type of surgery you require or arrange alternative treatment if your type of skin cancer does not require surgery.

A large number of these procedures can be performed under local anaesthetic in our office, whereas larger, more complicated cases will require surgery in hospital, usually as day surgery.

Cancers that are commonly treated include:

  • BCC (Basal cell carcinoma)
  • SCC (squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Melanoma

Skin cancer surgery

Before the
surgery

During the consultation Dr Lotz will describe the options for treatment available to you. Often a simple excision is all that is required, but if your skin cancer is larger then you may require a more complex reconstruction.

You will be given a detailed quotation prior to surgery which outlines all relevant costs.

It is important to let us know if you are on any blood thinning medications as you may need to stop them prior to your surgery.

You should also cease smoking a month before and a month after your surgery to reduce the risk of skin healing problems.

Skin Cancer Surgery

The surgery

For procedures done in the rooms, you are not required to fast, and you will be able to drive home. For larger procedures in hospital you will need someone to pick you up after the surgery.

Surgical procedure

After the skin cancer is removed, it may need a skin graft or a skin flap to reconstruct the area. This more complicated surgery will usually be done in the hospital.

For a skin graft, some skin is removed from elsewhere on the body (that has a good colour match with the area), and the skin is sutured into place. If a skin flap is performed, it involves freeing up some skin from adjacent to the defect, and then moving this into the area where the cancer was removed.

The area will be covered with a light dressing at the end of the surgery.

Skin Cancer Surgery

After the surgery

Post-operative recovery

Most patients go home the same day. You will be given detailed instructions as to how to manage your dressings, if you can shower, and what activities to avoid.

Follow-up 

You will be seen a week after surgery to remove any dressings, take out stitches, and be given advice as to how to manage the area. Dr Lotz will also discuss the best treatment in order to help minimise scarring.

Risks of skin cancer surgery

Most of the risks of skin cancer surgery are small and do not affect final outcomes, but sometimes revisional surgery is needed. The risks include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring (may require extra treatment or surgery)
  • Incomplete removal of the cancer needing more surgery
  • Nerve injury (numbness or motor nerve changes)
  • Scars may be red for some time
  • Swelling
  • Poor healing, especially of skin grafts on the leg

Case Example 2:

45 year old woman following excision of a basal cell carcinoma on her nose using Mohs surgery. The defect has been repaired with a flap.

at 6 months:

6 months following the flap repair. Scars settling well, excellent nasal symmetry and contour. Scars will continue to fade for 6 more months.

Case Example 3:

Melanoma excised from the ear and treated with a skin graft taken from behind the ear. 3 weeks following surgery.

Skin Cancer Surgery

Before & After

Skin lesion removed in rooms under local anaesthetic

Case Example 4A:

Small lesions such as this SCC (skin cancer) on the temple can be removed in the rooms under local anaesthetic. The area to be removed will be marked and then the local anaesthetic injected.

Case Example 4B:

After the wound is stitched a skin coloured dressing will be applied. You can shower normally. Panadol is usually all that is needed for pain relief.

Case Example 4C:

The stitches will be removed in a week and you will be given detailed advice on how to manage the scar.

Surgical Management & Treatment of Skin Cancer

If you would like further information or if you wish to make an appointment to discuss surgery for skin cancer with Dr Nicholas Lotz, please contact our rooms.