Dr Ally-Khan B. Somani: Mohs Surgery on the Nose and Quality of Life

When patients develop skin cancers on the nose, Mohs surgeons have to remove the tumor while reconstructing the nose. This surgery heals relatively quickly unless the tumor has grown deeper into the nasal passages, said Ally-Khan B. Somani, MD, PhD, director of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

When patients develop skin cancers on the nose, Mohs surgeons have to remove the tumor while reconstructing the nose. This surgery heals relatively quickly unless the tumor has grown deeper into the nasal passages, said Ally-Khan B. Somani, MD, PhD, director of Dermatologic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Transcript

What is the impact of a nasal surgery on a patient's quality of life?

One of the challenges as a Mohs surgeon also is that patients are not protecting their skin. They get skin cancers on the face, and the head and neck is a very high area of developing non-melanoma skin cancers. In fact, Caucasians at the age of 60, 50% of them will have at least one non-melanoma skin cancer. And in my practice, and I guess most practices, you will find that the nose is a common area for skin cancers. It can be quite disfiguring, the tumor itself can be quite disfiguring, and can have impact on breathing, on the nasal, and provide some nasal issues. Mohs surgery directly clears the tumor and we do the reconstructive surgery, so in some ways we are actually removing the cancer, but also reconstructing the nose.

So usually there’s no major issues after the surgery, maybe there’s a little bit of stuffiness or a bit of congestion, some wound healing, but usually by 6 weeks patients do quite well. Noses can take up to 6 months to be completely healed, it takes longer for them to have normal nasal passages. We’re working on the outside of the skin, so we’re not really compromising the airway unless a tumor involves deeper structures.