Skin procedures

Bernard is skilled in the excision of a basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.

Skin cancer surgery

Approximately 2/3 of South Australian’s are expected to have a skin cancer at some stage of their life. The most common of these is basal cell carcinoma, which grows slowly, commonly on the face and head, and fortunately has a very low rate of spread to distant parts of the body. Excision of a basal cell carcinoma is a very frequent procedure performed by plastic surgeons, often requiring reconstruction to retain facial form, function and cosmesis.

Similarly, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is often managed with simple excision and closure of the wounds either directly with a straight line scar or with local skin flaps or skin grafts. The difference between the 2 being that a very small percentage of SCC may spread most commonly via lymph nodes. This requires careful assessment at the time of initial surgery as well as ongoing surveillance, based on the Australian Cancer Council Guidelines.

Melanoma is the least common of the main 3 skin cancers in Australia. The mainstay of treatment for melanoma is excision of the lesion, with adequate margins to prevent local recurrence and ongoing surveillance to screen for spread. In the last number of years, for significant melanomas, outcome has changed significantly due to immune therapies. Hence there has been an increase in screening procedures, such as sentinel node biopsy and early referral to oncology services and multidisciplinary team meetings for consideration of additional treatment pathways other than surgery.

See the Australian Cancer Council website for more information regarding the treatment of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

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