Monthly Archives: November 2011

Laser Surgery for Skin Cancer Proves Largely Successful in Study

laser surgery for skin cancerPrecancerous skin growths may be effectively treated with laser surgery, according to the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery.

In cases where radiation therapy or excision surgery are not possible, your plastic surgeon may be able to employ the use of a carbon dioxide laser to treat the growth. This type of laser surgery for skin cancer is best used to treat growths on the head and neck that have yet to transform into melanomas, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer.

To test the effectiveness of laser surgery for skin cancer, researchers compared it to other treatment techniques like radiation therapy and surgical removal. The researchers compared surgery treatment cases over the course of about 20 years. Radiation therapy was the most commonly used technique and laser surgery for skin cancer, the least common with just 15 of 73 patients undergoing that option.

The recurrence rate of cancers treated with surgery and the carbon dioxide laser were relatively low, at 4.2 and 6.7% respectively. Patients who underwent radiation treatments saw the greatest recurrence at 29%.

Though many plastic surgeons may choose excision surgery when given the opportunity, given its lower recurrence rate in the study, it is not always possible. In areas where a surgical scar may be more visible, like areas around the neck and face, laser surgery for skin cancer may be advantageous.

Despite any cosmetic benefits of using laser surgery for skin cancer, it is important to follow the advice of your plastic surgeon when it comes to treatment.

To learn more about treatment for skin cancer, email Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.

Detecting Melanoma: New Scanner May Help Treat Cancer

detecting melanomaYour plastic surgeon may soon be able to use a new device when detecting melanoma, according to WebMD.

The device, called MelaFind, helps doctors in detecting melanoma and judging whether a biopsy may be necessary. The MelaFind works by scanning the surface of the skin and analyzing skin lesions it finds. Early findings for the MelaFind have been successful—the device only missed 2% of melanomas.

Melanoma is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. It grows quickly, but may be treated if found early enough. Doctors who use MelaFind can use the device conjunction with their own training to diagnose patients.

One of the benefits of the device is that when it is successful in detecting melanoma, it can help doctors to discern whether a biopsy is necessary. In the cases where melanomas are not found, patients can avoid unnecessary biopsies.

However, the device was found to have a high false positive rate. But after further examining the lesions, it was found that 90% of the time the lesions were not cancerous.

Despite this fact, the FDA found that the positives of the device in detecting melanomas outweighed the chance for unnecessary biopsies.

Though the MelaFind cannot replace a dermatologist’s trained eye when it comes to detecting melanoma, the makers find that it is a helpful tool for dermatologists.

To find out more about treatment for skin cancer in Philadelphia, please email plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.

Checklist May Help Ensure Safe Cosmetic Surgery

safe cosmetic surgerySafeguards supported by international plastic surgeons aim to ensure patients receive safe cosmetic surgery, according to International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Because some patients choose to go overseas for surgeries that may be cheaper, plastic surgeons in the US and internationally are also seeing “alarming” rates of patients who experience complications. Due to lax and inconsistent safeguards and guidelines used by some international plastic surgeons, patients do not always receive the care they should when traveling for plastic surgery.

For example, patients from the UK who went abroad for plastic surgery reported a 20% complication rate, according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS).

As a remedy to this issue, the president of the ISAPS proposed a checklist to ensure safe cosmetic surgery. This proposed checklist covers four key factors for safe cosmetic surgery as follows:

  • The patient should be a good candidate for the requested surgery.
  • The surgeon must be properly trained and credentialed.
  • The procedure should be appropriate for the patient.
  • The surgical facility should be an accredited and proven safe venue with properly trained staff and emergency preparedness.

The World Health Organization also champions patient safety. A safe cosmetic surgery checklist it promoted in 2008, with the support of ISAPS, has shown to greatly improve patient safety when used properly, In fact, under the use of the checklist, patient complications were reduced by more than one third and patient deaths decreased by nearly 50%.

The ISAPS stresses that patients understand that just because a doctor has a medical degree does not mean they are qualified to perform any surgery. In order to undergo a safe cosmetic surgery, patients should ensure that their surgeon is trained and credentialed in the procedure/field and that surgery will be performed in an accredited, safe facility.

The ISAPS says it has seen an increase in patients contacting its offices to verify their surgeon’s credentials. This, coupled with appropriate local research, can help patients choose a plastic surgeon who is ideal for performing their safe cosmetic surgery.

To learn more about choosing safe cosmetic surgery options, please join the mailing list of Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.