Surgery for Basal Cell and Spinocellular Skin Cancer

There are several types of surgery to treat basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. The choice of surgical technique will depend on the size of the tumor, the location and the type of skin cancer. Most surgeries can be done in doctors’ offices or specialized clinics. If the tumor has a high risk of spreading, surgery may be followed by other treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy.

Excision. In simple excision, skin tumors are usually removed with a small margin of normal tissue. Excision is performed under local anesthesia and may leave a small scar.

Curettage and electrodissection. This procedure is used to remove the tumor by scraping with a curette, and then the area where the tumor was located is treated with an electrode that emits an electrical current to destroy the remaining cancer cells. Curettage accompanied by electrodissection is used for the treatment of both basal and squamous cell cancer.

Mohs surgery. It is used when there is a high risk of disease recurrence after treatment, or when the extent of the tumor is not known, or when the goal is to save as much healthy skin as possible, such as cancers near the eyes or other important areas, such as the central face. , ears or fingers. In this technique, the surgeon removes a layer of skin that may have been invaded by the cancer and maps its location. The tissue sample removed is immediately analyzed by a pathologist and, if there are still cancer cells, a little more tissue is removed, which is again analyzed by the pathologist. The process takes time, but allows maximum histopathological control and preservation of the normal tissue (skin) around the tumor. Although widespread in dermatology,

Lymph node surgery. If the lymph nodes near the tumor are growing, it may be a sign that the cancer has reached these lymph nodes. In this case, they are surgically removed and analyzed by a pathologist.

Reconstruction. In cases where the tumor is large, it may be necessary to graft with a skin flap to aid healing and restore the region’s aesthetic appearance.

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