Category Archives: Reconstructive Surgery

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.

Breast Cancer Experience Hits Plastic Surgeon’s Family

breast cancer experienceOne plastic surgeon got an unwanted breast cancer experience when he helped his daughter through her treatment, as he told

Plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Laughlin had been treating patients who requested breast reconstruction, as well as a host of cosmetic surgeries for more than 25 years when he learned of his own daughter’s breast cancer diagnosis. From his years in practice, he already had an understanding of the type of breast cancer experience a woman can go through, from diagnosis to reconstruction, but this life-changing event gave him a new perspective, he says.

After her breast cancer experience, his daughter Julie has been a survivor for eight years, but throughout the ordeal, Dr. Laughlin says he wanted to make sure she had the best care possible, since her family lived too far away for her to be treated locally. To this end, he kept in close contact with Julie’s physicians, listening to their recommendations and helping her understand the options.

Some of the tips Dr. Laughlin gave Julie, and those he may give others going through a similar breast cancer experience were to listen to all of the recommendations of specialists and do her own research. He also stressed the importance of bringing a family member to all consultations because the amount of information can be overwhelming.

Now that Julie has beaten breast cancer, Dr. Laughlin says he has learned some valuable takeaways from the breast cancer experience that he can use to help his patients in the future.

He says he better understands how families can feel going through countless office visits and procedures. Dr. Laughlin knows the importance of working with each patient individually, allowing her to ask whatever questions she needs to. He also understands the importance of the entire medical team (and family) in helping each patient through her own breast cancer experience.

“This whole experience has made me even more understanding and compassionate and, hopefully, a better plastic surgeon,” Dr. Laughlin says.

To learn more about your options for breast reconstruction in Philadelphia, please contact Philadelphia plastic surgeon Dr. Genter.