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Eyelid Tumors and Eyelid Reconstruction

What Is An Eyelid Tumor?

The eyelid skin is the thinnest and most sensitive skin on your body. As a result, this is often the first area on your face to show change from sun damage and aging. Unfortunately, sun damage and other environmental toxins not only cause the skin to age but can cause serious damage. Skin cancer of the eyelids is relatively common and several types exist. The most common are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma while less common eyelid cancers are melanoma and merkel cell carcinoma. The presence of a nodule or lesion on the eyelid that grows, bleed or ulcerates should be evaluated. This involves examination and sometimes a biopsy which can be performed by a board certified oculoplastic surgeon in Beverly Hills.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell tumors represent the ninety percent of eyelid tumors and generally require assistance from a board certified oculoplastic or reconstructive surgeon. These skin cancers grow slowly over months and years. They most often appear as a pearly nodule that eventually starts to break down and ulcerate. Despite being a cancer, these tumors don’t spread to distant areas but rather just continue to grow and infiltrate the surrounding tissue. They typically can be cured by simple excision followed by reconstruction (by an oculoplastic surgeon) of the defect left behind after the tumor removal. The earlier the treatment is taken, the better outcome.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma

These types of eyelid tumors occur much less common but are more aggressive and require more involved care to ensure complete treatment. Again, primary treatment involves removing the tumor, but care must also be taken to ensure the tumor has not spread anywhere, causing larger health problems. Your surgeon will help coordinate this as part of your treatment depending on the size and circumstances of the tumor at presentation. Dr. Taban assists clients in both Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara with squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma treatments.

Treatment (Mohs Eyelid Reconstruction)

Eyelid cancers are usually slow growing, however because there is very little eyelid tissue to begin with, it is best to excise the lesion as soon as possible. It is often a two-step process, done in conjunction with a Mohs dermatologic surgeon who ensures that the entire tumor has been excised at a microscopic level. Mohs’ surgery is a procedure developed specifically to remove a cancerous skin lesion, using visualization under microscope to carefully remove the cancerous lesion layer by layer until all margins are free of any cancerous tissue. This technique spares as much of the surrounding healthy tissue as possible.

The second step is reconstruction or closure of the Mohs defect.  Reconstruction is usually performed the same day or the day after the Mohs’ procedure by a qualified surgeon (oculoplastic surgeon). Oculoplastic surgeons are the optimal persons to repair these defects as the eyelid is quite delicate. Oculoplastic surgeons are board certified ophthalmologists who are not only well trained and experienced in lid reconstruction, but are also trained and experienced in the function of the eyelids and eyeball and reestablishing the eyelid to its normal state for its primary role of protecting the eyeball. Members of ASOPRS are well versed in the intricacies of the eyelid anatomy and the pitfalls associated with reconstructing this area.

Many of these eyelid defects can be sutured together directly, but many others may require more complex reconstructions. In many of these more complex cases, the oculoplastic surgeon in Beverly Hills will need to use transfer of adjacent tissues (what we call ”flaps”), or transfer of skin from other parts of the eyelid face or body (what we call “skin grafts”) to complete the reconstruction. Some of these more complex reconstructions may require more than one operation to complete (what we call “staged reconstruction”).

Dr. Taban: Expert Oculoplastic & Reconstructive Surgeon

To contact Dr. Taban, board certified Oculoplastic surgeon in Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara, call today to schedule your initial consultation.