Ear, Nose and Throat (Otolaryngology) – Head and Neck Surgery

Skin Cancer Mohs Surgery Reconstruction

Skin cancer affects two million American’s annually making it the most common form of cancer in the United States. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have some form of skin cancer at least once. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States and the most common form of cancer in the world. While it is rarely fatal, it can be disfiguring if left untreated and allowed to grow. 

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer with an estimated 700,000 cases diagnosed annually in the United States resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths. Melanoma represents a smaller portion of skin cancer diagnosis but it is one of the most common cancers affecting young adults. Its ability to spread makes early diagnosis and treatment essential.

Skin cancers of the head and neck are typically treated by surgery; either wide local excision (WLE) or Mohs Surgery (a technique used by specially trained dermatologists). After skin cancer removal, the loss of tissue can be disfiguring and result in loss of function, especially on the face. Our facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons work closely with cancer experts at Mount Sinai’s Center for Head and Neck Surgery and The Tisch Cancer Institute’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center to ensure patients have the best possible cosmetic and functional outcomes.

Reconstructive surgery after skin cancer removal can involve a number of options. Small wounds can either be allowed to heal in by themselves or closed with sutures, referred to as “primary closure.” Other times a skin graft may needed. For some patients, larger wound or defects may require a “skin flap” to ensure the best possible repair. Skin flap surgery typically involves borrowing adjacent skin to help close defects from skin cancer removal. These come in many forms and are often specific for skin cancer/mohs defects of the nose, cheeks, eyes, ears, scalp or forehead. Most skin cancer/Mohs surgery reconstruction can be performed in a single procedure. Sometimes, however, multiple procedures must be planned in order to ensure optimal cosmetic and/or functional outcomes.