Melbourne Plastic Surgery Blog

Melbourne Plastic Surgery Blog

Your skin cancer questions

Thursday, April 17, 2014

With summer over and many of us feeling just a teeny bit guilty about time spent in the sun (even with our sunscreen and cover ups) now is the perfect time to take stock of your skin and moles and get them checked.  Since its introduction MoleMap at Brighton Plastic Surgery has provided patients full body peace of mind when it comes to their skin and any areas of concern. 

We've collated a few of the most popular skin cancer questions patients raise and asked plastic surgeon Dr Ramin Shayan to share some insights:

  •  What’s the difference between a BCC and an SCC?

Firstly not all types of cancer are the same. BCC and SCC are the main category of skin cancers known as non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs).

A Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is a growth within the basal cells of the skin, that give rise to the new skin cells that renew our skin as part of normal life. In this process, mature skin cells (keratinocytes) shed off the surface and are replaced by younger fresher cells beneath, that start as the basal layer. This type of skin cancer is essentially not able to spread  (a small group that do spread have been described as having <0.05% chance of spreading!!), however it does keep growing larger in the local area. Depending on the type of BCC, it may keep burrowing deeper. 

A Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is also an uncontrolled growth of skin cells, but this occurs in more mature layers of the skin. Depending on the type, these cancers may also spread if neglected, but is unlikely to do so if excised in a relatively timely fashion.

  • Why did my doctor say it was OK to wait a few months to have surgery – isn't it a cancer? 

The answer is that 'cancers ain't cancers'. That means, that just the word cancer is not a death-sentence. A cancer is simply a growth of cells that has lost the normal ability of the body's cells to sense when there is something wrong, and to switch it off. There are many different types of cancer, originating in many different organs. Whilst some cancers do carry a poor survival rate, generally, the non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) - BCC and SCC are among the better types of cancer to have if caught early. If a BCC or SCC is in the early stages, it is best to treat them in the early stages however there is no additional consequence if we treat these within 30 or so days.

  •  Are all skin cancers melanomas? And if my skin cancer is not a dangerous one - why bother to get it removed?

No, in fact most are not. BCCs and SCCs make up the vast majority of skin cancers in Australia however some melanomas may masquerade as BCCs or SCCs so it is important to get the specimen sent to a pathologist once it has been removed. If it does turn out to be a melanoma, there is a range of different treatment steps that must be undertaken, depending on the depth and other characteristics of the melanoma.

  •  Do skin cancers run in the family or is it because of the sun?

A good question - there is a lot we are yet to find out about the genetics of cancer.

Whilst there are some familial cancers, most skin cancers are due to exposure to the sun. Of course fair skinned people are more susceptible to sun damage and certainly one does inherit their skin type from their ancestors.  If there is a family history of skin cancer it is crucial to discuss this with your doctor.  

If you have any specific questions about skin cancer or would like to find out more about MoleMap - phone us on 03 9592 0522.

Worried about a mole?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mole Mapping SKin Cancer Checks

We are pleased to announce that we now offer MoleMap – one of the most trusted and thorough mole mapping technologies in the world.  With skin cancer being so prevalent in Australia (current statistics suggest 2 in 3 people will develop it in their lifetime), it is becoming increasingly important to get regular mole checks and monitor your skin for changes.

MoleMap is a very comprehensive mole scanning technology that offers full body peace of mind.  It can detect skin cancer early by using Total Body Photography, Dermoscopy (magnified inspection of skin lesions) and Sequential Dermoscopy (monitoring of moles over time).  Basically, all medical speak aside, it is the only service that uses these 3 requirements along with specialist dermatologist diagnosis as standard for all patients.

The procedure is non-invasive and does not hurt.  It is also safe for pregnant women.  Your mole mapping will be performed by our skin cancer specialist who will undertake a full body MoleMap, which includes a thorough examination of your skin, total body photography and an in-depth analysis and imaging of your moles to create a baseline of what’s normal for you.  The whole experience takes about an hour.  Mr Mutimer is also available for follow up consultation should your skin assessment show any abnormalities that require further checking by a specialist.

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How much does MoleMap cost?

The cost varies according to the type of procedure you have:

- Initial Full Body Mole Map $375

The one hour initial consultation is an extremely thorough procedure and is designed to provide you with accurate and timely diagnoses of all your moles. 

- Follow Up Mole Mapping $255 - $320

Repeating the MoleMap procedure on a regular basis (e.g. yearly) enables our expert dermatologists to observe structural changes in all of your moles over a period of time. 

- Spot Check  $140 (1-3 lesions diagnosed)

This appointment is designed specifically for you to get rapid and accurate diagnosis by a specialist dermatologist on any specific moles that you are worried about.
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You can find out more or book an appointment by phoning Mole Map directly on 1 800 665 362. Their friendly staff will assist you with your questions and can also book an appointment at Brighton Plastic Surgery on your behalf. The service is currently available at Brighton Plastic Surgery every second Wednesday.


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Inaugural Friends Of Interplast Dinner

The Inaugural Friends of Interplast (https://w ..

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The Inaugural Friends of Interplast fundraising dinner was recently held at The Carousel in Albert Park.

The dinner aims to raise much needed funds for Interplast’s work in repairing bodies and rebuilding lives across the Asia Pacific Region.

As President of Interplast, Mr Mutimer spoke at the event and is pictured below alongside recently announced ambassador, and rising AFLW star, Jess Hosking.

The evening was a huge success with funds raised being used to create the 'Friends of Interplast' Program. This will involve sending a surgical team overseas where approximately 30- 50 patients will receive life changing surgery, as well as opportunities for Interplast volunteers to build capacity and provide ongoing training.

To find out more about Interplast or to donate visit: www.interplast.org.au

Latest update on textured breast implants and ALCL

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This information has been summarised from the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons recent statement on Breast Implant Associated ALCL.

Understandably, a number of patients with breast implants have been alarmed by the increase of coverage in the news regarding Breast Implant Associated-Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) following the announcement that the TGA were reviewing the safety and ongoing availability of textured breast implants in Australia.

Here's a summary of current information and what you need to know:

  • The TGA announced on 11 July 2019 that it had completed its review and laboratory assessment of textured breast implants on the Australian market.
  • The next steps are either a proposal to cancel or a proposal to suspend certain types of textured implants by specific manufacturers. 
  • You can find the full list of implants in question on the TGA’s website.
  • It is important to note that BIA-ALCL is not breast cancer. 
  • It is a rare type of lymphoma that develops adjacent to breast implants, usually as a swelling of the breast 3-14 years after insertion.  This swelling is due to fluid building up in the fibrous capsule that surrounds the implant and does not develop in the breast tissue itself.  It can also present as a swelling or lump in the breast or armpit.
  • BIA-ALCL is a rare condition, with 92 patients confirmed in Australia and New Zealand.  Due to its rarity, it's difficult to be sure about the exact level of risk of developing this disease.  The risk of developing ALCL with textured implants differs with different grades of texture from one in 2,800 to one in 80,000.  Comparatively, breast cancer occurs in one in every eight women.
  • In the case of BIA-ALCL, the key to effective treatment is early diagnosis and specialist treatment.
  • In the early stages, BIA-ALCL is slow-growing and curable by surgery alone.
  • The cause is currently unknown but Australian and New Zealand Plastic Surgeons, along with local and international research organisations are working tirelessly to find the cause.
  • BIA-ALCL can occur in both breast reconstruction cases and cosmetic cases, as well as affecting both saline and silicone implants. 
  • At this time, there is no evidence to suggest the benefit of routine removal of breast implants if you do not have symptoms of this condition.

What should you do if you are concerned?

  • If your surgery was performed at Brighton Plastic Surgery, please ring us and we can inform you about what implants you have, and we can guide you through the clinical review process. If your surgery was conducted elsewhere and you are unsure of the type of breast implant used in your surgery, details will be in your original surgeon's medical files, and they will be able to inform you if it is a textured implant.
  • If you are unable to contact your original surgeon, please see your GP who can get you in contact with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon for a full clinical evaluation.  It would be recommended that this occur in any patient with breast implants, who are exhibiting symptoms of this condition.

We recommend that you click here to read the full statement from the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Considering Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)?

Ears are usually not the most not ..

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Ears are usually not the most noticed feature of the face but for people with prominent ears, they can find this upsetting, especially for children or people who wear their hair short.  Ear plastic surgery, also known as Otoplasty is designed to correct protruding ears. It can also be used to make ears more symmetrical or to correct ears that droop to low.

Ear surgery involves a surgeon pinning the patient’s ears back closer to the head, thus making them less prominent.

There are many benefits associated with undergoing surgical otoplasty. These include:

  • Low risk – the procedure is considered very safe with minimal risks involved (see important considerations below)
  • Minimal scarring once healed
  • Enhanced confidence and self esteem
  • Natural looking results

Ear surgery – important considerations

There are several key considerations for those exploring the option of ear surgery (otoplasty).

1) Timing (for young patients) – a person’s ears reach full development by the age of 4-5 therefore ear pinning surgery should not be performed until AFTER this age.

2)  Recovery time – overall recovery from otoplasty surgery is generally quick. There may be some discomfort in the first 1-2 days but this generally settles quickly.

3)  There will be some swelling and bruising post-surgery. Usually the bruising and discolouration is gone within 3 weeks. Swelling will diminish over the course of the first 6 weeks, however some minor swelling may continue for up to 2-3 months.

4)  It is important to note that a patient can only sleep semi-reclined on their back during the initially recovery period (generally for the first 2-3 week/s).

5)  Complications are generally minimal for otoplasty however as with any surgery risks can include bleeding, slow healing time, numbness and thickened scarring behind the ear. 

6)  One of the most problematic complications with ear surgery is if the ear is pulled on or knocked before adequate healing has occurred. If this happens the shape can be altered. Absolute care should be taken to avoid this and if this does occur you should reach out to your surgeon straight away to receive further advice.

Parents with a child who opts to undergo otoplasty will often find the first several weeks challenging, assisting the child to follow all instructions provided to ensure an optimal recovery. This includes keeping their head bandaged, ensuring they don’t scratch the ear area if itchy, minimising physical activity so as to not knock the ears etc. Knowing this in advance allows for pre-planning and makes it all very manageable.

If you are considering ear plastic surgery we recommend booking a consultation with a specialist plastic surgeon in Melbourne who will be able to discuss the intended procedure, perform a full suitability assessment, discuss expected outcomes and answer any questions you may have, including when may be the best time to have the procedure. 

For more information or to book a consultation feel free to call us on 03 9592 0522 or submit an enquiry via our website.