During the preoperative visit, you and your doctor will have discussed reconstruction options. However, the actual
method is determined only after the skin cancer has been completely removed and the extent of the final defect is known.
Options for wound management include:
Letting the wound heal by itself
Closing the wound in a side-by-side fashion with stitches
Closing the wound with a skin graft or a flap
We usually complete your reconstruction on the same day. On occasion, other surgical specialists may perform the procedure
because a tumor may be larger than anticipated. If you require a specialist, we will introduce you to one before
our reconstructive surgery.
When the reconstruction is completed by other surgical specialists, it may take place on the same day or a subsequent day. No harm comes from
delaying the reconstruction. Extensive reconstruction may require hospitalization.
It is likely your surgical wound will require care during the week(s) following surgery. We will provide you with detailed
written instructions after your surgery. You should plan on wearing a dressing and avoid strenuous physical activity for 1-2 weeks after the surgery.
Complete healing of the surgical site takes place over 12-18 months. The site may feel swollen or lumpy, especially during the first few months. Some redness may occur. Gently massaging
the area and keeping it lubricated with lotion starting about one month after surgery will speed the healing process. You may have minimal pain that you can alleviate with Tylenol. You may also experience temporary tightness and itching across the surgical
area as your wound heals. Significant blood loss is rare, but bleeding may occur after surgery. Bleeding into a sutured wound may impair good healing. If you experience bleeding, call us for instructions about treating the wound appropriately.
After the wound has healed, an indefinite follow-up period of observation is necessary. We will ask you to make follow-up appointments after two months, six months, one year, and at least
annually thereafter. Once you develop a skin cancer, there is a possibility that you will develop other skin cancers in different locations in the years ahead. Should you notice any suspicious
areas,such as areas that spontaneously bleed and do not heal after 2-3weeks, check with your physician for a complete evaluation.
Subsequent Sun Exposure
If you use adequate protection, sunshine is not harmful to you. Approximately 15-30 minutes before sun exposure, liberally apply a broad spectrum sun screen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to all exposed areas. Since many sunscreens wash offwith water or perspiration, reapply after swimming or exercising.
Wear a broad-brimmed hat and utilize clothing for further protection from the sun. Remember, sun exposure is most intense between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.