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Plastic Surgery Home Page
Health Information
Division of
Plastic Surgery
Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers
Scott Bartlett
S. Bartlett
Benjamin Chang
B. Chang
John Fischer
J. Fischer
Joshua Fosnot
J. Fosnot
David Low
D. Low
Joseph Serletti
Dr. Serletti

Nearly 80% of all skin cancers occur on the head, face or neck, so an acceptable, aesthetically pleasing scar is a vital factor in any treatment program.

Skin CancersThe most common form of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma. These lesions are removed either by excision or by Moh's surgery. Moh's surgery is a method of excising skin tumors horizontally, layer by layer, and examining the tissue microscopically until no cancerous tissue is found.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer, and is more likely to infiltrate the surrounding tissue, nerves and lymphatics than a basal cell carcinoma. These lesions result from pre-existing solar lesions or develop de novo. Treatment is generally with excision.

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and the incidence is increasing by about a million cases a year. Surgical intervention for these cancers is recommended in nearly every case. Malignant melanomas usually occur on the skin, but they are also found on mucosal surfaces, and in later stages on internal organs. They can spread radially, vertically or in both directions. Depending on the size, shape and location of the tumor, it should be removed with surrounding tissue (margins). The plastic surgeon chooses among a variety of reconstruction techniques to provide an aesthetically pleasing and function closure to the wound. Among the possibilities are:
  • Primary Closure
  • Skin graft, usually in conjunction with a local flap or primary closure
  • Local flap
  • Regional flap
Inpatient Facilities:
Hospital University of Pennsylvania (HUP)
Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH)
Office Visit Locations:
Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
Center for Human Appearance, Suite 1-150E (HUP)
230 W. Washington Square (PAH)
Making an Office Visit Appointment:
1-800-789-PENN (HUP)

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