WESTMED Plastic Surgery

Westchester County, NY
WESTMED Plastic Surgery
  • WESTMED Plastic Surgery

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    "I received the very best care that medicine can offer."

  • "I have complete faith and trust in Dr. Suzman. I feel fantastic!"

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  • Dr Suzman honored on the cover of Westchester Magazine Top Doctors issue!

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    "Outstanding credentials and best reputation in the area by far."

  • "I have had two procedures and couldn't be happier with the results."

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  • "I couldn't have picked a better surgeon for my eye surgery."

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  • "Both my husband and I are so happy with the results..."

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  • "My results are phenomenal!"

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  • "I felt very cared for during my visit."

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  • "I have nothing but good things to say. Couldn't be more pleased."

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<< News


Why We Wear Sunscreen: Understanding Basal Cell Skin Cancer by Michael Suzman, MD, FACS

5/13

 With the summer season finally upon us here in Westchester, it’s a good time to think about why we are constantly admonished by doctors to slather sunscreen on ourselves and our kids.  The ultraviolet radiation in sunlight directly destroys the structure and alters the DNA of our skin cells. While the effects of sunlight exposure are helpful in small doses, like a lot of good things, they can be harmful in excess. 

 Sunlight stimulates Vitamin D production in the skin, which is essential for bone health, and may play a role in vital immune system function, along with possible health benefits on many organ systems (neurologic, cardiovascular).  The negative effects of sun damage accumulation are easily evident over the decades—skin discoloration, increased looseness and wrinkles, and impaired overall luster and texture.  The biggest concern, though, is the development of skin cancer.  Most people worry most about melanoma, and for good reason.  It is a life-threatening cancer and can rapidly metastasize to other parts of the body.  However, basal cell carcinoma is by far the most likely skin cancer to develop.

 While basal cells are rarely fatal, they can be quite disfiguring, as they tend to occur in sun exposed surfaces, like the nose, cheeks, eyelids and forehead.  Left untreated, they can become very aggressive and destructive.  Even smaller basal cells can leave significant scars after treatment.  As a plastic surgeon with a specialty interest in cancer reconstruction, repairing a normal appearance after a facial skin cancer is one of the most common problems I treat.

 The first warning signs are usually a small, red scaly patch of skin that often bleeds, then starts to heal, then bleeds again-- failing to ever fully resolve.  It is at this point that most people seek care from a dermatologist, who can confirm the diagnosis by taking a small skin biopsy.

 It is best to catch basal cells early, when treatment is far simpler.  By the time they reach the skin surface there is often more hidden than meets the eye.  For this reason, it is hard to determine the true extent of the tumor, and a margin of healthy-appearing skin must be removed with the skin cancer to minimize the chance of recurrence. 

 The deceptive nature of basal cell’s true size becomes a challenge in sun-damaged areas of the face, where it is sometimes hard to discern a clear margin around the basal cell.    In these cases, patients are often referred for a specialized removal technique known as Mohs surgery (named after a surgeon, Dr. Mohs).  Reconstruction of a skin defect after Mohs surgery is often performed by a plastic surgeon.  For basal cells in with clear edges visible, I often prefer to remove them directly. It is far more convenient for patients and less time consuming (minutes vs. hours), and has a similar cure rate in appropriately selected patients.  Plastic surgeons and dermatologists work closely together to coordinate the best possible care for each patient.

 The most important aspect of basal cell skin cancer care is prevention and early diagnosis.  Limiting excess sun exposure and frequent application of an effective sunscreen are the hallmarks of reducing harmful radiation exposure. I prefer titanium and zinc-based sunscreens, which are very effective and comfortable on the skin.  Seeing your dermatologist regularly is essential. Knowing that plastic surgeons are dedicated to helping make the process of care, recovery and outcome better is hopefully a source of comfort.

 

 

 


                
Michael S. Suzman, MD.        WESTMED Plastic Surgery               914-848-8880        3030 Westchester Ave Purchase, NY 10577

Copyright 2015 WESTMED Medical Group.