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Skin cancer removal is a procedure that is used to remove cancerous and non-cancerous skin lesions from affected areas of the body.
This procedure uses specialized techniques to remove the problematic mole, lump, bump, growth, sore, or other lesion, while also preserving your health and physical appearance. When treating skin cancer in any way, there is always the possibility that it may lead to scars. Dr. Kuhlman-Wood is keenly aware of this concern, and will work expertly to minimize any dramatic change to your physical appearance, within reason.
At Coeur d’Alene Plastic Surgery™, our entire staff is committed to providing a frictionless surgical experience. It begins with listening to your needs and continues through appropriate education and care across your entire surgical experience. This includes providing you the care you need while you recover.
Dr. Kuhlman-Wood performs most small Skin Cancer Removal Procedures at Coeur d'Alene Plastic Surgery's Riverstone Clinic. However, more complex procedures including all Reconstruction procedures are performed at either Northwest Specialty Hospital or PleasantView Surgery Center. Both facilities are Doctor-owned facilities and have impeccable records of patient success and satisfaction.
The first step of your skin cancer removal procedure will be the administration of anesthesia. Factors such as procedural complexity and your individual needs will determine the type of anethesia used. The options for anesthesia include general anesthesia, local, and intravenous. Prior to surgery, Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will have developed a surgical plan based upon the size, location, and type of lesion on the skin. The second step in your procedure will be the actual removal.
Lesions that are small or contained to one specific area may be removed using simple excision and wound closure. This is the simplest option, and the one Dr. Kuhlman-Wood is likely to choose as long as the cancer has not grown underneath the surface of your skin.
Often, it is difficult to know what is under the skin until Dr. Kuhlman-Wood has made an incision around the affected area. If she sees that the cancerous cells beneath the skin are larger than expected and do not have any defined borders, she will remove small parts of underlying skin tissue to send to a pathologist. The pathologist will then freeze the tissue samples so they can be examined, the borders of the affected cancer defined, and confirm for Dr. Kuhlman-Wood that all of the cancer has been removed.
If at all possible, Dr. Kuhlman will close her incision with sutures (stitches) that follow the natural creases and curves of the skin in order to minimize the appearance of associated scarring. There are multiple techniques to achieve this result, and Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will tailor them based on your individual features and anatomy. Other options that may be necessary for reconstruction include skin grafts, which are thin portions of skin from one part of the body used to "cover" the wounded area. If the wound is particularly complex, it may require more than one procedure in order to achieve the desired results.
Reconstruction using skin grafts are often necessary when a cancer lesion is particularly large or likely to cause disfigurement. This can be done using a method called a "local flap," or adjacent tissue rearrangement. Using this method, healthy tissue surrounding the area where the diseased tissue was removed will be repositioned over the wound, and sutured closed.
Dressings and/or bandages will be placed over the incisions after the procedure is complete. Dr. Kuhlman-Wood and her staff will provide you with individualized instructions detailing your post-operative care. These instructions will detail information about your dressings, how long you’ll need to wear them, how to change them, and how to keep your incisions clean and free of infection.
The staff at Coeur d’Alene Plastic Surgery™ will schedule your necessary follow-up visits to have any non-dissolving stitches removed. Dr. Kuhlman-Wood will prescribe and council you on the appropriate medications to take to prevent infection, aid in your healing, and reduce pain. She will also provide guidance on when it is appropriate to resume your normal daily activities.
There are many factors that can determine the cost of Skin Cancer Removal and Reconstruction. Variables that determine the cost include Dr. Kuhlman-Wood’s surgical fee, the cost of anesthesia, facility fees for the hospital and/or surgical center, medical tests, clothing and bandages required after the procedure, and potential prescriptions.
Health insurance plans typically do cover Skin Cancer Removal & Reconstruction. The Staff at Coeur d'Alene Plastic Surgery™ will outline what may or may not be covered. This will be important if your procedure needs to be paid out-of-pocket. Although monetary cost is important, it is only one of several factors to consider. It is equally important to find a surgeon who is board-certified by the ASPS, or a board-certified Dermatologist. Perhaps most importantly, choose a surgeon/doctor with whom you are comfortable.