Skin Cancer Removal Surgery

Skin Cancer Removal Surgery

Procedure overview

Surgical Options for BCC, SCC, and Melanoma
BCC Skin Cancer Removal

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and affects millions of people in Australia and around the world. Basal cell skin cancer arises from a type of cells called “basal cells” located at the base of the epidermis. It usually arises in sun-exposed areas – face, neck, arms, and hands. Nevertheless, basal skin cancer can occur anywhere in the body.

The malignant skin lesions can appear as shiny skin growths, non-healing wounds, or can even resemble a scar. They might grow big enough to cause disfigurement and skin deformity. BCC Surgery to remove skin cancer requires experience and skills to ensure the best cosmetic outcomes, especially when the tumour is located in a visible area.
Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr. Kristian Sorensen is one of the best skin cancer surgeons in Sydney, Australia. He uses scar minimizing surgical techniques and reconstructive methods to remove skin tumors and restore a normal skin contour.

SCC Skin Cancer Removal

Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC is the second most common type of skin cancer. SCC is a type of cancer that develops from squamous cells – the outermost cells covering the skin. It usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of the body (face, neck, arms, and hands). However, it can also occur in other body regions as well, like the buttocks or groin area.

There are several treatment options for squamous cell carcinoma. Dr. Kristian Sorensen will discuss your surgical and non-surgical options with you depending on your specific case. He performs SCC Excision and tissue reconstruction and scar minimizing techniques as required.

Melanoma Surgery

Melanoma is one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer that can form in different skin areas of your body including the face, neck, arms, legs, and back. A skin growth or a mole could be a Melanoma if it’s asymmetric, unevenly coloured, or has an irregular border with the skin surrounding it. If in any doubt, get a medical practitioner to check it ASAP.

The surgical removal of melanoma skin cancer can be done with a “wide local excision” surgery for patients with, early stages of the disease. This involves taking 1 – 2 cm perimeter around the area and a suitable depth beneath it. Each melanoma is individually assessed and the risk of spread to nearby lymph nodes calculated. For many patients the first lymph node downstream of the melanoma needs to be sampled. This is called a sentinel lymph node biopsy and it helps to assess the overall risk and danger. This in turn allows the team to work out the best treatment options which may be nothing further, medical treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy or sometimes further surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

Dr Kristian Sorensen is a highly trained specialist plastic surgeon and expert in skin cancer surgery. He has experience in using advanced surgical approaches and reconstructive skin techniques to successfully remove melanoma tumours, especially those in cosmetically challenging or highly functional areas such as the face, palms, and soles of the feet.

Table of Contents

Procedure FAQs

We understand that having surgery can be a big decision, so we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions for each surgical procedure to provide you with more information and help you make an informed decision.

  • What is melanoma and how does it form?

    Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer that begins in melanocytes – skin cells that produce melanin (the pigment that gives your skin its colour). When these skin cells have DNA damage, new cells start to grow out of control until they form a mass of cancerous cells.

  • What is the leading cause of melanoma and which areas of the body are most commonly affected?

    Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun and from tanning lamps and beds is thought to be the leading cause of melanoma since melanoma usually develops in the areas of the body most exposed to the sun. These areas include your Back, Legs, Arms, Neck and Face.

  • What other factors besides UV exposure can contribute to melanoma?

    Scientists believe that the DNA damage is likely due to a combination of environmental and genetic factors because melanoma skin cancer can also occur in areas that don’t receive a lot of sun exposure. They can be seen in people with darker skin and occur in places most people wouldn’t think to check, such as the spaces between your toes, your palms, soles of your feet, your scalp, the genitals, and inside your mouth.

  • What are the first signs and symptoms of melanoma?

    The first signs and symptoms of melanoma usually begin as changes in an existing mole or the appearance of a pigmented or unusual-looking growth on your skin.

  • How is melanoma usually treated?

    Melanoma can be confined to the upper layer of the skin and is usually easily treatable with surgery. Sometimes, melanoma skin cancer can metastasize to nearby lymph nodes or other organs of the body, becoming more dangerous and more challenging to treat.

  • What are normal moles and how can you identify suspicious moles that may indicate melanoma?

    Normal moles usually have a tan, brown, or black colour, have an oval or round shape, and are smaller than 6 mm in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser). When moles are normal, they have a uniform colour with a defined distinct border separating them from the skin surrounding them.

    A mole may indicate melanoma when it starts showing an asymmetrical shape with two different-looking halves, an irregular or notched border, changes in colour, a diameter that is larger than 6mm, and may also become itchy or start bleeding.

  • When should you see a doctor regarding concerning skin changes?

    Make an appointment with your skin doctor or dermatologist when you notice any skin changes that might seem unusual or concerning.

  • How is a skin melanoma diagnosis made?

    When you spot a suspicious mole or irregular skin tissue, your healthcare provider will perform the following to confirm a skin melanoma diagnosis:

    Physical exam: After giving your health history, your skin will be examined for irregularities and specific signs of melanoma
    Biopsy: A sample of the suspicious skin tissue is removed and sent to a lab where a pathologist determines whether it has cancer cells

    After cancer is confirmed and the type of melanoma is determined, your medical team will identify the stage of your melanoma.

  • How is the stage of melanoma determined?

    The stage is determined by how much the cancer has grown and whether it metastasized (spread).

    Knowing the stage of melanoma is crucial and helps decide how to treat the disease best. The staging process is based on three factors:

    Thickness: The thickness of the tumor, also known as Breslow thickness or Breslow depth, is an important factor in predicting how far the melanoma has advanced. The thinner the Breslow thickness, the less likely the tumor has spread

    Ulceration: Tumor ulceration is the breakdown of skin on top of the skin lesion. Melanomas with ulceration are more serious and have a greater risk of spreading than those without ulceration

    Spreading: The stage of melanoma is also determined by whether cancer has already spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes and other organs such as the lungs and the brain

    Identifying the stage of the melanoma disease may require additional blood tests or imaging techniques such as a PET scan, CT scan, or MRI.

  • Who creates the treatment plan?

    The diagnosis and treatment of melanoma can require a multidisciplinary effort. Dr Kristian Sorensen can coordinate with dermatological specialists, oncologists, and imaging experts to find the perfect treatment plan for you with the best cosmetic outcomes.

    As an experienced plastic surgeon, Dr Sorensen is able to successfully remove cosmetically challenging melanoma tumors and lesions, minimising functional and cosmetic impacts. He meticulously hides the incisions within the folds of the skin and performs reconstructive surgery to give your skin a better-looking appearance after melanoma removal.

  • What are the steps involved in melanoma excision surgery?

    Early-stage melanoma tumours that haven’t spread beyond the upper layers of the skin are usually successfully treated by melanoma excision surgery alone. Dr Kristian Sorensen uses surgical reconstructive techniques to repair the area affected by melanoma and give you the best cosmetic outcome possible after the melanoma is removed.

    Before removing the skin lesion, Dr Sorensen will carefully consider:

    • The thickness of the tumour
    • The location of the tumour
    • How removing the tumour might affect your function and cosmetic appearance

    During melanoma resection surgery, Dr Sorensen will perform the following:

    The first step is a skin biopsy – this is often done by the GP or dermatologist. Once part or all of the skin lesion has been removed, it is sent to a lab for analysis and diagnosis. Very thin melanoma may be completely removed during the biopsy and occasionally require no further treatment

    After that, he will use a scalpel to remove 1-2cm perimeter around and a suitable depth underneath the area to remove any stray melanoma cells. While doing so, Dr Sorensen pays attention to minimising the amount of tissue removed and preserving the appearance of your skin while making sure all of the cancer is removed

    Dr Sorensen will also deliberately remove some of the healthy tissue from around the tumour to make sure no cancer cells are left behind

    The wound will be reconstructed to leave as minimal trace as possible. This is an especially important and challenging step when the melanoma is on the face, specifically near the nose, eyes, or lips. Removing skin lesions in this area requires superb surgical skills to prevent any deformities and reconstruct the affected area

    Finally, the wound will often be closed with plastic surgery techniques to minimise scarring.

    After the surgery, the margins of the resected skin are checked to make sure they are cancer-free. If they are, often no further surgery will be required.

  • What is a sentinal lymph node biopsy?

    This type of biopsy focuses on the first lymph node where the tissue fluid (lymph) drains to – this is called a sentinel node biopsy. The sentinel lymph node is the first one to trap stray cancerous cells – from this point, the cancer spreads in the lymphatic system. Removing the sentinel lymph node can determine if the tumour has affected the lymphatic system. A negative result of the biopsy suggests a better prognosis, and a positive lymph node often leads to further tests and advanced medical treatments.

  • What is mestastic melanoma?

    Advanced melanoma that has spread from the skin to other organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain. This form of melenoma can be more difficult to treat.

  • How is mestastic melanoma treated?

    The treatment of metastatic melanoma can require a combination of surgery with additional treatment before or after surgery to shrink the tumour and slow down the disease. Treatment plans are tailored to the individual by a multidisciplinary team of experts.

    Patients with metastatic cancer have options for supplemental or adjuvant treatments that aim to improve the effectiveness of skin cancer surgery and enhance survival. These additional treatments include:

    Immunotherapy: This is a type of drug therapy that helps your immune system in fighting cancer. Immunotherapy is usually recommended after melanoma surgery for skin cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body.

    Targeted therapy: Targeted drug treatments focus on weaknesses within the cancer cells. By targeting these weak points, the drugs are able to kill skin tumor cells.

    Radiation therapy: High-powered energy beams such as X Rays and protons are used to kill melanoma cancer cells. These beams may be directed to the lymph nodes if cancer has spread there. It can also be used to treat melanoma that cannot be completely removed with excision surgery.

    Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs that are given intravenously (IV), in pill form, or both to kill skin cancer cells.

Anything we've missed?

If you have any further questions or concerns that we haven’t addressed in our FAQ section, please don’t hesitate to contact us – our team is always here to provide the information and support you need throughout your journey.

Risks

The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.

Surgical procedures carry inherent risks, and the specific risks and potential complications may vary depending on the procedure. It is important to consult with a qualified and experienced surgeon to discuss the risks, benefits, and potential outcomes of any surgical procedure. Individual results may vary.

For more detailed and specific information regarding the risks associated with a particular procedure, please contact our clinic directly to schedule a consultation with our skilled team of healthcare professionals.

Surgical Costs

Navigating Surgical Costs: Consultations, Insurance, and Financial Options

At FNQ Plastic Surgery, we work with you to navigate the cost of your desired procedure, taking into account the various factors that influence pricing, and offering flexible payment options to accommodate your needs.

Medical Consultations for Non-Cosmetic Procedures (skin cancers, hand surgery etc.)

  • Initial consultation: $280
  • Follow-ups: $85

Cosmetic Consultations (in person or virtual)

  • Initial consultation: $350
  • Follow-ups: $100

Children Consultations under 18 years

  • Initial consultation: $250
  • Follow-ups: $85

Terms

All prices include GST. You will be required to make a deposit of $100 to secure your booking. Your appointment will be confirmed and secured once paid. We accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express via electronic banking details over the phone.

Skin cancer

Payment for skin cancer/ skin lesion surgery is due (7) days prior to your surgery booking date.

Cosmetic surgery

To secure an appointment for cosmetic surgery, you are required to make a deposit as outlined below. The final payment is due to FNQ Plastic Surgery 2 weeks prior to your scheduled date. Please reference your surname and contact us once payment is complete.

Surgeon feeDeposit required

Up to $10,000$1,000
$10,000 – $20,000$2,000
$20,000 +$3,000

Payment options

  • Direct Deposit
  • Bank cheque made payable to FNQ Plastic Surgery (we do not accept personal cheques)
  • Major credit cards accepted – including AMEX
  • Cash

Refund policy

If you cancel or reschedule your procedure less than (7) days prior to your surgery date, you will be responsible to pay thirty percent (30%) of the total costs of the procedure (non-refundable and cannot be applied to a future procedure).

Average prices paid for cosmetic and plastic surgery are different across Australia. Prices and Hospital Costs vary for plastic surgery as every patient has slightly different anatomy and varying surgical needs. Your Price for surgery depends mostly on which surgeon, which hospital, the type of prosthesis and how long the surgery will take. It will also vary based on eligibility for Medicare and whether you are insured or uninsured.

A fully personalised quote for your plastic surgery procedure is available when you come for a confidential consultation.

Your quote as part of a fully informed financial consent will outline your specific:

  • Surgeon Fee
  • Hospital Costs based on theatre time and length of hospital stay
  • Anaesthetists Fee
  • Assistants Fee (if applicable)
  • Prosthesis, Implant fee and post-operative garment fee (if applicable)
  • Any Medicare codes that may be applicable to your surgery

Many patients want to know if Medicare will cover plastic surgery. Medicare will cover what is deemed essential reconstructive surgery and procedures that have associated Medicare item numbers listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).

Dr Sorensen and his team can help you understand if Medicare may cover your procedure. However, if you wish to look up a particular type of surgery and its item numbers, refer to the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Medicare will not cover cosmetic surgery procedures – like a cosmetic breast augmentation.

If you meet the strict criteria, you may be eligible for a Medicare item number Breast Surgery, Tummy Surgery, and post weight loss Excess Skin removal, amongst many other procedures.

You can undertake your surgery as a self-funded (uninsured) patient, or you may be covered by your Private Health Fund. There are many private health funds, some more generous than others.

Your Private Health Fund may partly contribute to the cost of your surgery. If you have a valid medical referral and meet the specific criteria for a Medicare Item Number.

You must also have the right LEVEL of insurance cover – Gold, Silver or Bronze – for the type of surgery you want. You may have to delay surgery after initially joining a health fund – typically, a 12-month waiting period needs to be served before you can have surgery.
If you have private health insurance, it is your responsibility to check your level of cover for this procedure. If you are not covered for the procedure, you will be responsible for hospital fees. Below are listed questions you should ask your health fund:

  • Am I covered for the Cairns Private Hospital or Cairns Day Surgery?
  • Am I covered for the item number(s) listed on my quote?
  • Will I be covered if this surgery is combined with a cosmetic procedure that does not have an item number?
  • Do I have an excess to pay when I go to hospital? if so, how much is it?

Nearly all plastic surgeons now charge a GAP fee on top of what Medicare and Private Health Funds are willing to contribute for your surgery. Medicare rebates have been fixed and have not increased for years. This has resulted in few, if any, NO GAP Plastic surgeons willing to charge the standard Medicare fee and health fund rebate.

You may be able to get early access to your Superannuation Fund to pay for your life-changing surgery.

This will most likely apply to Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck), Breast Reduction, Body Contouring, Arm lift, Nose Surgery or Skin Reduction after significant weight loss or Bariatric Surgery.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) will assess your Early Super Fund Access application for medical procedures that treat life-threatening illnesses or chronic pain. The final decision, however, will be made by your own Super Fund, as some funds will not allow withdrawal. Find out more by visiting the ATO website or contacting Supercare.

Financing for cosmetic & plastic surgery

Flexible Financing Solutions for Your Procedure

At FNQ Plastic Surgery, we’re dedicated to making your desired procedure more accessible. That’s why we’re proud to partner with leading Australian financial service Total Lifestyle Credit (TLC) to offer flexible financing solutions tailored to your needs.

TLC Logo

TLC provides personal loans designed for financing medical and lifestyle expenses. With competitive interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and a simple application process, TLC can help you easily finance your procedure. Visit TLC’s website for more information.

DISCLAIMER – Our Practice is NOT a credit provider. We do NOT receive any rebates or commissions from ANY banks or credit suppliers. All finance and credit providers are independent external companies. We provide NO financial advice. You will need to consider your own financial circumstances when deciding if finance is suitable for you.

At the heart of our practice is a deep commitment to patient care, ensuring each individual receives the utmost attention, safety, and satisfaction.

We strive to provide the best care possible for our patients. That’s why we offer a comprehensive range of resources on our Patient Care page, including information on patient registration, consultation and treatment, disclaimer information, and other vital resources. Please click the button below to access our Patient Care page and learn how we can assist you throughout your journey.

Enquire now

Please upload relevant photos of what you are trying to achieve or your current situation. This may help you get an earlier consult appointment or surgery.

Please only include pictures of your face if relevant to your enquiry.