Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon
Laura Phan, M.D.
Laura Phan, M.D.
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  • 15055 Los Gatos Blvd Suite 320, Los Gatos, CA 95032. (408) 502-5000 0

Laura Phan, M.D.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer. It is most commonly caused by excessive sun exposure. Early signs of skin cancer include:
Red splotches
Scale-like or flaking skin
Dark spots
Bumps or raised areas of skin

If skin cancer forms around the edge of the eyelids, it often causes redness, unhealed skin break, and loss of eyelashes.

The following are types of skin cancer known to affect the eyelids and skin:
Basal cell carcinoma – It is most common type of skin cancer. It may appear white and pearly with or without ulceration.
Squamous cell carcinoma – It is the second most common type of skin cancer. It often presents as a scaly lesion.
Sebaceous cell carcinoma – It is the third most common form of eyelid cancer, but still quite rare. It can be very aggressive with metastasis occurring early in the course of the disease.
Melanoma – It is the least common, but most fatal among all forms of skin and eyelid cancers. It often presents itself as a growing, changing,  and irregularly and darkly colored splotch on the skin of the eyelid.

To diagnose skin cancer, the surgeon will take a biopsy of the suspected lesion for examination under the microscope by a trained pathologist. If the biopsy confirms the lesion to be cancerous, further surgery will be needed to completely remove the cancer.

Most of the time, the surgery to completely excise the cancerous lesion is performed in an operating room as an outpatient procedure. The patient is given intravenous sedation. After the lesion is excised, the eyelid is then reconstructed to close the defect. There are many methods to reconstruct the eyelid, depending on the size and location of the defect. The goal of the reconstruction is to restore anatomy and function of the eyelid and minimize disfigurement if possible.