February 12, 2014
As a general surgeon, I am often asked to evaluate a patient with an abnormal mole (pigmented nevus) or one that has been biopsied, revealing a premalignant or malignant growth. It is not uncommon for the patient to tell me they either were totally unaware of the lesion or dismissed changes in the lesion over time.
All skin cancers are not alike, and melanoma, a malignant cancer of pigmented skin cells (melanocytes), is by far the most dangerous of the group, accounting for over 75% of skin cancer deaths in the United States. This amounts to about 48,000 melanoma related deaths world wide per year.
Found early, when the lesion is superficial and small, cure rates are high, but as the cancer progresses, it invades deeper into the skin, and becomes far more likely to spread far from where it started. It is for this reason that ...
May 11, 2013
If you are reading this, and the thought of having an operation is a little daunting, it may be helpful to arm yourself with some useful information. For most folks, the mere idea of undergoing a surgery can be a stressful and confusing time. Many people are still recovering from the surprise that their condition requires an operation, and are unprepared and overwhelmed with the amount of information they are given in anticipation of the procedure. Below is a brief and simplified summary of some of the things you may be told and are expected to understand. Because every surgery is a little different in regard to indications, expectations, risks, and recovery, the guide below should serve as a road map to help you navigate the process.
Most surgeons use the terms preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative to describe the various stages involved, and we will break these down to make understanding them a little easier.
May 01, 2013
For most folks, the idea of undergoing an operation can be a stressful and confusing time. If the thought of having a surgery is a little daunting, it may be helpful to arm yourself with some useful information.
Before any operation, you should have the opportunity to talk with your surgeon. This consultation should include an explanation of why you need a surgery, what other options are available, and what the surgery and recovery entail. All operations have risks and complications and you should learn about them as part of the decision making process.
It is often necessary to perform certain tests or studies prior to your surgery. These are for your benefit so that your surgeon has as much information about you and your situation as possible. Surgeons do not like surprises.
Make sure to follow your preoperative instructions. This is your side of the bargain after you have decided to have surgery. Following directions about medications, fasting (not eating), and other prepa...