Reconstruction After Skin Cancer

Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Before and After Photos

After surgery to remove skin cancer, you may have many concerns, one of which is probably how you will look. This is especially true if the surgery was performed on a prominent and important area like your face.

Reconstructive plastic surgery after skin cancer is a delicate and specialized type of surgery. It is important to ask a lot of questions and pay close attention to what your healthcare provider has to say about your options.

Female doctor speaking to male patient
Jose Luis Pelaez / Getty Images

Whoever performs your Mohs surgery, also called Mohs micrographic surgery, may be able to complete your reconstruction when your lesion is removed, or you may be referred to a plastic surgeon for reconstructive surgery.

This gallery contains before and after photos that may be graphic and/or unsettling. The before pictures have been taken after Mohs surgery to remove cancerous lesions from the face. The after pictures show results after reconstructive surgery to repair the defects left behind after the cancer was removed.

Cheek and Eyelid Defect Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Jacono - Patient #1 Reconstructive surgery performed by New York board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS. Photos © Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS

This patient underwent a neck transposition flap, and forehead and cheek rotation flap procedure to close this large defect.

Upper Lip Defect Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Jacono - Patient #2 Reconstructive surgery performed by New York board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS
Photos © Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS

This patient underwent a bilateral transposition flap, borrowing cheek skin to reconstruct the upper lip.

Multiple Staged Nasal Repair

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Patient #3 Reconstructive surgery performed by New York board certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS
Photos © Andrew Jacono, MD, FACS

This defect required a two-staged surgery using a pedicled (stays attached to the donor site) paramedian (from above the inner corner of the brow) forehead flap. The second stage involved sectioning (separating) the flap attachment. 

Lower Lip Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Patient #1 Reconstructive surgery performed by Louis DeLuca, MD, FACS, of Boca Raton, FL
Photos © Louis DeLuca, MD, FACS

This 76-year-old had an extensive defect involving the lower lip following the removal of squamous cell carcinoma. A lip advancement flap procedure was performed.

The after photo shows an excellent result with the re-establishment of the lower lip continuity and minimal restriction in the mouth opening.

Nasal Tip Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr DeLuca - Patient #2 Reconstructive surgery performed by Louis DeLuca, MD, FACS, of Boca Raton, FL
Photos © Louis DeLuca, MD, FACS

This 52-year-old had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from the right side of their nasal tip. A bilobed flap procedure was performed.

The after photo shows the patient’s result six months after surgery with no distortion of the nasal anatomy.

Nasal Sidewall Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr DeLuca - Patient #3 Reconstructive surgery performed by Louis DeLuca, MD, FACS, of Boca Raton, FL. Photos © Louis DeLuca, MD, FACS

This 67-year-old had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from the upper nasal sidewall. A bilobed flap procedure was performed.

The after photos show the patient immediately following surgery and again six months post-operative with no distortion of the nasal anatomy.

Nose Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Steinbrech - Patient #1 Reconstructive surgery performed by Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, FACS, of New York, NY
Photos © Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, FACS

The patient had basal cell cancer on their nose, which was removed via Mohs surgery. Reconstruction was achieved using a bilobed local rotation advancement flap procedure, meaning that the skin was brought together and rearranged on the nose using a two-lobed flap. That way, the contour of the nose itself would not be interrupted or unnaturally distorted.

Forehead Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Steinbrech - Patient #2 Reconstructive surgery performed by Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, FACS, of New York, NY
Photos © Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, FACS

The patient had squamous cell cancer on their forehead, which was removed via Mohs surgery. Reconstruction was achieved using a local advancement flap procedure. The skin was brought together and rearranged above the brow so that the brow itself would not be interrupted or unnaturally elevated.

The post-op photo was taken at seven days, in the early stages of healing. The scar will fade significantly over time.

Upper Lip Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Steinbrech - Patient #3 Reconstructive surgery performed by Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, FACS, of New York, NY
Photos © Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, FACS

The 28-year-old patient had squamous cell cancer above the top lip, which was removed via Mohs surgery. Reconstruction was achieved using a T-pattern (also called an “O to T flap”) complex closure, meaning that the skin was brought together and rearranged above the red (vermillion border) of the lip so that the lip itself would not be interrupted or bunched.

Reconstruction Above Lip

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Steiger - Patient #1 Reconstructive surgery performed by Jacob D. Steiger, MD, of Delray Beach, FL
Photos © Jacob D. Steiger, MD

Reconstruction was achieved using a lip advancement “island” flap procedure (also known as an “island pedicle flap”) wherein the flap remains attached to the donor site only via its blood vessels.

Forehead Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Steiger - Patient #2 Reconstructive surgery performed by Jacob D. Steiger, MD, of Delray Beach, FL
Photos © Jacob D. Steiger, MD

Reconstruction was achieved using a forehead advancement flap procedure.

Paramedian Reconstruction

This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

Dr Steiger - Patient #3 Reconstructive surgery performed by Jacob D. Steiger, MD, of Delray Beach, FL
Photos © Jacob D. Steiger, MD

Reconstruction was achieved using a paramedian forehead flap procedure, in which the flap is taken from a section of tissue extending vertically upward from just above the inner corner of the brow.

Summary

Mohs surgery is a type of surgical procedure that can be done to remove skin cancers. Though it may be done on different body parts, it is often done on the face. Following this surgery, there may be a large amount of skin and tissue that had to be removed. This can require reconstructive surgery to heal and improve cosmetic outcomes.

A Word From Verywell

Being told you need surgery on your face to remove cancer can be distressing. Worrying about how your skin may look after the procedure is normal. It is important to go to a surgeon who has a lot of experience in the type of surgery you need-for, both Mohs and any other reconstructive surgery you may need.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does it take to recover from Mohs surgery on the face?

    The amount of time that is needed for recovery can vary. It is dependent upon how much tissue was removed during the Mohs surgery, and if any other reconstructive surgery is needed.

  • Is reconstruction surgery necessary after Mohs surgery?

    Reconstruction may be necessary after Mohs. Sometimes a larger area may need to be removed, which requires more extensive surgery to repair. Not only is this cosmetic, but it may also help improve the function of the part of the face that was affected.

  • Does insurance cover reconstruction after Mohs surgery?

    In most cases, insurance covers the cost of reconstruction when it is needed due to either functional or other defects caused by Mohs surgery.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Tolkachjov SN, Brodland DG, Coldiron BM, et al. Understanding Mohs micrographic surgery: a review and practical guide for the nondermatologist. Mayo Clin Proc. 2017;92(8):1261-1271. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2017.04.009

  2. David AP, Miller MQ, Park SS, Christophel JJ. Comparison of outcomes of early vs delayed graft reconstruction of Mohs micrographic surgery defects. JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2019;21(2):89-94. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2018.1204

  3. Blue Cross Blue Shield. Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

By Julie Scott, MSN, ANP-BC, AOCNP
Julie is an Adult Nurse Practitioner with oncology certification and a healthcare freelance writer with an interest in educating patients and the healthcare community.

Originally written by Natalie Kita