How long after the removal of skin cancer on the lower eyelid will I have to wait for any reconstruction surgery?

I'm having skin cancer removed from the lower eyelid area, how long after the surgery will the doctor wait before doing any reconstruction that needs to be done?

Doctor Answers 4

Melanoma reconstruction should be done at the same time as the cancer excision

My colleagues and I reviewed the outcomes of 534 patients who had melanoma skin cancers excised and the skin deficits reconstructed at the same time.  The study found that the patients did well with no evidence of tumor recurrence.  In fact, patients who had skin cancer reconstruction at the same time as the excision had significantly lower health care costs, when compared to performing them separately.  

This study published in the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal represents the largest series to date demonstrating that patients can have skin cancer reconstruction at the same time as melanoma cancer surgery.  Reconstruction is a medically indicated procedure that is covered by insurance.  It can have a profound effect on the psychosocial well being of a person. 
Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Jul;138(1):256-61.


New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Timing of reconstruction after skin cancer removal

If the cancer was excised via the Mohs surgical technique, then reconstruction can take place immediately.  Melanoma cannot be removed with traditional Mohs surgery because the pathological review process takes days, not minutes.  In cases of melanoma, reconstruction must wait until the final pathology report shows that all of the cancer has been removed.

Clyde Mathison, MD
Knoxville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

How long to wait for surgery after removal of skin cancer on the lower eyelid

The type of skin cancer you have and the method used to remove it will help to determine how soon after removal of the skin cancer you can have reconstruction.  In general, if a Mohs procedure is used to remove the skin cancer, then reconstruction can often be performed at the same time.  If a melanoma is removed, then you may have to wait for the final pathology report to come back (typically within a week) to ensure that the melanoma has been removed completely.  Good luck. 

Josef Hadeed, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

How long after the removal of skin cancer on the lower eyelid will I have to wait for any reconstruction surgery?

This depends on the type of skin cancer and technique used to remove it. If the tumor is basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma and the Mohs technique is used, then reconstruction would likely be performed at the same appointment. If you have melanoma or wide local excision is performed, you might need to wait up to one week prior to repair. This time lag is required to ensure that the margins are clear and the tumor has been completely removed. I hope this information is helpful for you.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.