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Procedures

SCC Removal Surgery

When facing a diagnosis of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), understanding the treatment options available to you is essential. SCC is a form of skin cancer that, while generally not life-threatening, requires prompt and effective treatment to prevent it from becoming more serious. Among the various treatments available, SCC removal surgery is often recommended due to its effectiveness in removing cancerous cells and preventing further spread.

SCC tends to develop in areas frequently exposed to sunlight, such as the scalp, back of the hands, and ears, but it can appear anywhere on the body. The appearance of SCC can vary widely; it may look like a red scaly patch, a lump with a rough surface, or an open sore. It can grow slowly or rapidly and sometimes causes discomfort.

At a glance

Procedure Time
Depends on the type of procedure perfomed
Procedure Anaesthesia
Local anaesthesia
Procedure Downtime
Varies based on the type of procedure

Table of Contents

What is SCC Removal Surgery?

SCC removal surgery is a targeted medical procedure designed to excise Squamous Cell Carcinoma, the second most common type of skin cancer. This cancer originates from the squamous cells, which are part of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. When these cells mutate and grow uncontrollably, they form SCC, which can be invasive and damaging if not treated promptly.

The primary aim of SCC removal surgery is to completely eradicate the cancerous tissue from the affected area. This is done by excising the tumour along with a margin of healthy skin around it to ensure that no malignant cells remain. The success of this procedure lies in its ability to not only remove the cancer but also to achieve clear margins, which minimises the risk of recurrence.

SCC removal surgery can vary in complexity, depending on the size and location of the tumour. For smaller, less complicated cases, the procedure might be straightforward and performed under local anaesthesia in an outpatient setting. However, larger or more complex cases may require more extensive surgery under general anaesthesia, possibly involving skin grafts or reconstructive techniques to restore the appearance and function of the affected area.


Who Needs SCC Removal Surgery?

SCC removal surgery is not necessary for every case of Squamous Cell Carcinoma, but it is often recommended for situations where the cancer is large, located in sensitive areas, or has penetrated deeper into the skin. You might be a candidate for this surgery if:

  • Diagnosis of SCC: You have been diagnosed with SCC after a biopsy of a suspicious skin lesion.
  • Ineffectiveness of Other Treatments: Previous treatments such as topical medications or less invasive procedures have not successfully eradicated the cancer.
  • Location and Size of Cancer: The SCC is located in an area where other treatments might not be advisable or effective, or it is large or deep enough to require excision.
  • Health and Age Considerations: You are in good general health, which would allow you to undergo surgery and recover without significant risk of complications.

Your suitability for SCC removal surgery will be assessed by Anca, who will review your medical history, the nature of your SCC, and other relevant factors. This assessment ensures that the proposed treatment aligns with your specific health needs and personal circumstances, providing the best chance for a successful outcome.


Benefits of the SCC Removal Surgery Procedure

Here are some of the advantages of opting for this surgical method to treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma:

  • Effective Cancer Removal: The primary benefit of SCC removal surgery is its effectiveness in removing all cancerous cells from the affected area. By excising the tumour along with a margin of healthy tissue, Anca can significantly reduce the risk of the cancer recurring at the same site. This thorough approach provides a higher likelihood of complete cure compared to some other treatments that may leave residual cancer cells.
  • Prevention of Further Spread: SCC has the potential to spread to other parts of the body if not treated properly. By physically removing the tumour, surgery prevents the cancer from metastasising, which is the process of cancer spreading to distant organs. This is especially important for aggressive or rapidly growing types of SCC.
  • Immediate Results: Unlike some treatments that require multiple sessions or a long period to evaluate effectiveness, surgery offers immediate results. Once the cancerous tissue is removed, it is sent to a pathology lab to confirm that all cancer cells have been excised, giving you immediate reassurance about the status of your treatment.
  • Cosmetic Outcomes: Modern surgical techniques focus not only on removing the cancer but also on achieving the best possible cosmetic result. This is particularly vital when SCC is located in visible areas such as the face, neck, or arms. Anca use techniques that minimise scarring and preserve normal skin appearance as much as possible.
  • Psychological Relief: Being diagnosed with any form of cancer can be extremely stressful. Undergoing surgery and achieving clear margins can provide significant psychological relief, knowing that the cancer has been effectively addressed. This peace of mind is an essential component of your overall recovery and return to everyday life.
  • Tailored Treatments: SCC removal surgery can be customised according to the size, location, and depth of the tumour as well as your personal health and preferences. This personalised approach ensures that the treatment is as effective as possible while also considering your specific situation and cosmetic concerns.

Types of SCC Removal Procedures

Excisional Surgery

This is the most straightforward type of SCC removal, involving the surgical cutting out of the cancerous lesion along with a margin of healthy tissue around it. The size of the margin depends on the aggressiveness and size of the cancer. This procedure is performed under local anaesthesia and can vary in duration and complexity based on the tumour’s characteristics.

Curettage and Electrodessication

This method involves scraping off the cancerous growth with a curette (a sharp, ring-shaped instrument) followed by the application of an electric current to the area to destroy any remaining cancer cells. This technique is generally reserved for smaller or less aggressive cancers and is appreciated for its simplicity and effectiveness.

Laser Surgery

In some cases, laser technology may be used to vaporise the cancerous tissue. This method is less invasive and can be particularly useful for superficial cancers. Laser surgery minimises bleeding and can reduce the need for stitches, which leads to quicker recovery times.

Cryosurgery

This technique uses extreme cold (liquid nitrogen) to freeze and destroy abnormal cells. It is often used for small, superficial SCCs and is noted for its minimal pain and quick recovery.

How is the SCC Removal Procedure Performed?

The specifics of SCC removal surgery vary depending on the chosen method, but the overall goal remains consistent: to remove all cancerous cells while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. Here’s a general overview of what you can expect when undergoing SCC removal surgery:

Consultation and Planning

Before the procedure, you’ll meet with Anca to discuss the details of the surgery, including the technique used, potential risks, and what to expect during recovery. This is a good time to address any concerns or questions you might have.

Preparation

On the day of the surgery, the affected area will be thoroughly cleaned and marked. Depending on the type of procedure and its extent, you may receive local or general anaesthesia. Local anaesthesia numbs the area around the cancer, allowing you to stay awake but pain-free during the procedure. General anaesthesia is used for more extensive surgeries and will cause you to sleep through the procedure.

The Surgery

  • Excisional Surgery: Anca uses a scalpel to remove the SCC along with a margin of healthy tissue. The size of the margin is typically determined by the size and depth of the cancer.
  • Mohs Surgery: Anca removes the cancer layer by layer, examining each layer under a microscope until no cancer cells remain. This method helps conserve as much healthy tissue as possible.
  • Curettage and Electrodessication: Anca scrapes away the cancerous growth and then uses an electric needle to destroy any remaining cancer cells.
  • Laser Surgery and Cryosurgery: These methods are less commonly used but involve either burning away or freezing the cancerous cells, respectively.

Closure and Dressing

After the cancer is removed, Anca will close the incision if necessary. Smaller surgeries may only require a small bandage, while larger removals might need stitches or even a skin graft. A dressing will be applied to protect the wound and promote healing.

Recovery

Depending on the extent of the surgery and your overall health, you might go home the same day or you might need to stay in the hospital. The medical team will monitor your initial recovery and manage any immediate postoperative pain or complications.

Pathological Examination

The removed tissue is sent to a lab where a pathologist examines it to ensure all cancerous cells have been removed, providing confirmation that the margins are clear.

 

Several surgical techniques are available for removing Squamous Cell Carcinoma, each suited to different situations based on the characteristics of the cancer and the patient’s overall health.


Recovery after SCC Removal Surgery

Recovery from SCC removal surgery generally involves manageable pain and a relatively quick healing process, though it can vary based on the size and location of the surgery and your overall health. Here are the aspects of the recovery phase:

  • Wound Care: Proper care of the surgical site is essential to prevent infection and promote healing. You’ll receive instructions on how to care for your wound, which may include keeping the area clean and dry, changing dressings regularly, and applying prescribed topical medications.
  • Pain Management: Some discomfort is normal after surgery, but it can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication. It’s important to follow Anca advice regarding pain management.
  • Follow-Up Visits: You will likely need to return to Anca for a follow-up visit to check on the healing process, remove any stitches, and discuss the results of the pathological report. These visits are also a good opportunity to address any concerns you might have about your recovery or the risk of recurrence.
  • Activity Restrictions: Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may need to avoid certain activities that could strain the surgical site. Sun protection is particularly important as UV exposure can not only cause new cancers but also affect the healing process and the appearance of scars.
  • Observation for Recurrence: Regular check-ups are important after surgery to monitor for any signs of cancer recurrence. Keeping these appointments is essential for your long-term health.

Reviews

Patient satisfaction is the top priority for Anca. You can find how patients feel about her work below.

How Much is SCC Removal Surgery in the UK?

The cost of SCC removal surgery can vary widely based on several factors, including the type and size of the procedure, the surgeon’s experience, and the geographical location of the surgery. Other factors influencing the cost include the type of anaesthesia used, the need for pathology services, and whether the procedure requires hospitalisation.

In the UK, if you are eligible for NHS treatment, the cost of your surgery for SCC may be covered. However, if you opt for private treatment, costs can range significantly. Generally, prices might start from a few hundred pounds for minor procedures under local anaesthesia to several thousand for more extensive surgeries requiring general anaesthesia and hospital stays.


Further Reading

faq-photo

Procedure

Frequently asked questions

While SCC removal surgery is generally safe, like all surgeries, it carries some risks. These may include complications from anaesthesia, bleeding, infection, and delayed healing, particularly if you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes or a suppressed immune system. There is also a risk of nerve damage, especially for surgeries performed near sensitive areas, which can result in temporary or permanent loss of sensation. Additionally, there is always a risk that the surgery might not completely remove all cancer cells, potentially requiring further treatment.

Yes, any form of surgery that involves cutting the skin can leave scars. The size and visibility of the scar depend on the extent of the surgery, the location of the removed tissue, your body’s healing capabilities, and how well you follow post-operative care instructions. Anca strives to make incisions along natural skin lines and folds to minimise the appearance of scars.

Recovery times can vary significantly based on the size of the cancer removed, the type of surgery performed, and your overall health. Minor surgeries may heal within a few weeks, while more extensive procedures might take several weeks to months. You may also need additional time for cosmetic healing if the surgery was performed on a visible part of your body. Anca will provide a more specific timeline based on your particular situation.

Follow-up care involves monitoring the surgery site for signs of infection or complications, assessing how well the wound is healing, and checking for signs of cancer recurrence. Anca might schedule regular visits initially weekly or monthly, gradually extending the interval as time progresses. These visits are important to ensure that the area heals properly and remains cancer-free. You may also discuss further preventative measures, such as regular skin checks and protection strategies against UV radiation.

Yes, taking steps to protect your skin from UV radiation is the most effective way to prevent both the recurrence of SCC and new cancers. This includes using sunscreen with a high SPF, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sun exposure during peak hours. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and not smoking, can help support your body’s ability to fight off potential recurrences.

About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon

top UK cosmetic surgeon anca breahnaMs Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. Anca performs a range of breast, body and face surgery and minor skin procedures.

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in her region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has been largely undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK to further extend her qualifications and training.

Anca’s NHS practice is now focused on Breast Reconstructive Surgery, Skin Cancer Surgery, Hand Surgery and soft tissue reconstruction. Over the last 15 years, through her pursuit of further training and education, Anca has developed a special interest and expert practical experience in a range of Aesthetic Breast and Body Surgery.

It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca will treat you in a straightforward manner, with respect, consideration and empathy to ensure you are comfortable with your choice.

 

 

Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • A Medical Referral from your Doctor before your consultation is not compulsory however  it is recommended.
  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is available on-site at all hospitals.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans or to request more information about the procedure, contact us.

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire on 0800 080 6026 or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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