Cancerous and benign skin lesions commonly develop on eyelid skin because the skin is thin, and it receives a substantial amount of long-term sunlight exposure. However, many eye-fold lesions are not cancerous. Dr. Robert Schwarcz, a board-certified oculoplastic cosmetic surgeon, can easily remove these lesions.
Common Eyelid Cancers
Squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are the two most common types of eyelid cancers. Basal cell cancer grows slowly, but it does not metastasize. Contrastingly, squamous cell cancer is more likely to spread. Any patient in New York City who has an ulcerated or bleeding lesion or nodule that will not heal should be examined and biopsied by a board-certified oculoplastic cosmetic surgeon. While rare, eye-fold melanoma calls for an aggressive treatment approach.
Basal Cell Tumors
Approximately 90 percent of tumors on the eyelid are basal cell tumors. Basal cell tumors may present as pearly nodules that eventually ulcerate. While basal cell tumors do not spread, they can grow into the surrounding tissue. An oculoplastic reconstructive surgeon can remove these tumors and reconstruct the affected area.
Squamous Cell Tumors and Melanoma
Squamous cell tumors are more aggressive than basal cell tumors, so they require a more complex skin cancer surgery technique than basal cell carcinomas to ensure the tumors have not spread. The surgeon will coordinate any further treatment with the patient. The severity and size of the tumor will dictate the next step in treatment.
Mohs Surgery for Eyelid Skin Cancer
A board-certified cosmetic surgeon has to meet three goals to achieve a successful eyelid skin cancer surgery outcome. The first goal is to remove all tumors. The second goal is to restore the eyelid’s functionality. Lastly, the third goal is to make the area look aesthetically pleasing. To reach these three goals, the surgeon will utilize the Mohs surgery technique. Mohs surgery is designed to carefully excise the cancerous tumor one skin layer at a time without removing a large amount of healthy tissue.
Depending on the complexity of the patient’s condition, the surgeon may need to either graft skin from another area of the patient’s body or simply suture the area. If the patient requires a skin graft, the treated area may need to be reconstructed in stages. Staged reconstruction is usually reserved for the most severe eyelid skin cancer cases.