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Abnormalities of the skin and benign skin tumours

Parts of the skin may be congenitally malformed. Such as with what are called “port wine stains”, “giant hairy naevi” and other such conditions. Other conditions may develop after birth and grow rapidly, such as with angiomas. The treatments for each are often very different, and must be tailored to each case, e.g. curettage, laser ablation, laser photocoagulation, or formal excision. In the case of large angiomas, it is usually best to wait until the child is older, as these tumours tend to spontaneously regress by the age of 10 years.

The majority of skin growths are harmless, (e.g. moles), occurring in latter life and are mainly of cosmetic interest. An increasing percentage of skin lesions (e.g. solar keratosis) are now being caused by excessive exposure to ultra-violet radiation and do have a long-term risk of transforming into skin cancers. Concerns about skin cancer motivate people to have many such skin growths removed for security, peace of mind and to improve their appearance.

Thin or early growths may be removed by laser without causing a scar. Larger, more advanced growths may need to be surgically excised, consequently leaving a scar. Every attempt is made to keep the scars as small as possible and place scars in natural crease lines, or at least parallel to them, hence making them less noticeable.

Skin Cancers

The rate of skin cancer is increasing due to ozone depletion and higher recreational exposure. Ultraviolet radiation causes skin cancer by damaging cells in the skin. We accumulate damage to our cells throughout our lifetime. It is never too late to start protecting our skin with a 15+ broad spectrum sunscreen, protective clothing and hats. Most skin cancers are curable, however early detection is important.

Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common skin cancer. They usually occur on sun-exposed areas, especially on the face, and grow slowly over time. They almost never spread elsewhere, but left untreated they will continue to grow, causing local tissue destruction and making treatment more difficult.

Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are the second most common. They can grow quickly and need to be detected early as they can occasionally spread if treated too late. They are predominately found on the face, arms, and legs

Melanomas are another form of skin cancer that arise from our pigment producing cells (melanocytes). They are not as common as BCCs or SCCs, however they are potentially fatal and early detection is crucial. They can arise from moles, but often develop on normal skin. Melanomas, unlike BCCs and SCCs, occur not infrequently in younger people. A noticeable change in the colour, contour or size of a skin lesion should be immediately reviewed by your skin specialist.


PLASTIC SURGERY AND COSMETIC SURGERY in Adelaide. Dr Peter Sylaidis - Accredited Plastic Surgeon and Cosmetic Surgeon -- © Sylaidis Plastic Surgery 2009 - Adelaide, South Australia