Squamous Cell Skin Cancer
Squamous Cell Skin Cancer is the second most common type of skin cancer. Although it has a very low risk of metastasizing to the rest of the body, there is no limit to its ability to cause local destruction. Left untreated, squamous cell skin cancer will slowly eat into the surrounding tissues including skin, fat, muscle, cartilage and even bone and eventually may metastasize to other parts of the body.
Although less successful than surgical excision, very small (less than 5 mm) superficial squamous cell skin cancers may be treated with cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen), topical application of Aldara or Efudex, or electrodessication and curettage. These non-surgical treatments typically have a recurrence rate of 15-30%. These treatments do not require plastic surgery expertise and we do not offer these non-surgical treatment options in our office. If you are interested in pursuing non-surgical options, you should consult with your primary care physician or dermatologist.
Dr. Fremling has been utilizing his expertise as a board-certified plastic surgeon to provide surgical excision and plastic surgery reconstruction of squamous cell skin cancers for over 25 years. Surgical excision of squamous cell skin cancer typically results in a recurrence rate of less than 10%. Excision is usually performed in the office under local anesthesia. If the diagnosis has already been confirmed by biopsy, treatment can frequently be accomplished in a single visit. Photos can be sent to the office from your cell phone using the “Contact Us” tab on this site eliminating the need for an office consultation prior to surgery and closure is typically performed using absorbable buried sutures and skin glue thereby avoiding the need for a return visit for suture removal following surgery. Plastic surgical techniques are utilized to minimize scarring.
Our practice does not offer MOHS surgery although we frequently provide reconstruction following MOHS surgery. MOHS surgery is an excellent technique for removing skin cancer while removing the least amount of tissue possible. However, it is very expensive and time-consuming and is therefore only recommended for difficult-to-see skin cancers (infiltrative and sclerosing) in cosmetically sensitive areas (nose, eyelids, lips, and ears). MOHS surgery is not usually necessary in other locations. If requested and allowed by your insurance, we can coordinate your care with a MOHS surgeon to combine MOHS surgery with plastic surgery reconstruction.