What are the types of skin cancer and why should a plastic surgeon treat them?

There are numerous types of skin cancer but the most common types include Basal Cell Cancer (usually a pearly bump on the skin with an associated blood vessel), Squamous Cell Cancer (usually has a flaky appearance), and Melanoma (usually a brown/black spot with irregular edges).  These definitions are general and not all encompassing. Most skin cancer is associated with excess sun exposure.

Skin cancer lesions can be identified based on the acronym ABCDE:


Border irregularity 

Color that is not uniform 

Diameter greater than 6 mm

 Evolving or changing  

Skin cancers are usually diagnosed by a primary care physician or dermatologist through a biopsy. In addition you should always do self-check and monitor any suspicious moles.

If your biopsy shows skin cancer, you will usually require excision of the lesion to ensure it has been adequately removed.  Sometimes, you may wish to have a plastic surgeon remove the skin cancer or perform the reconstruction after the cancer has been removed, especially if it is in a cosmetically sensitive location.  Plastic surgeons have training in advanced reconstructive techniques, including skin graft and flaps (or re-arrangement of your own tissues) and focus on suturing techniques that minimize scarring.

Having a cancerous lesion can be scary but the removal of one doesn’t have to be. Dr. Elswick performs skin cancer lesion removal at our office located in Troy, Michigan. She accepts most insurance companies.  Call today to set up your appointment 248-524-0620.  

Dr. Sarah Elswick

Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery