Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Plastic Surgery Saves a Man's Leg

A doctor from Mount Sinai in New York City recently cured an unusually large skin cancer. The story was reported in the New York Daily News. The patient believed he had a rash for which he did not seek medical attention for 10 years. When the patient presented to the skin cancer clinic at Mount Sinai, the rash stretched from his ankle to his knee.

The rash was not a rash at all. It was squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. Others told the patient he would lose his leg but the Mount Sinai doctors proved otherwise and possibly saved the patient's leg.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News
The surgery reportedly lasted about 8 hours. After removing the cancer, a tissue graft from a pig’s bladder was used to replace the skin that was removed. This is called a xenograft. First, a powdered xenograft was placed on the wound and then three graft layers were sewn on top. The patient underwent two more skin graft procedures after the original surgery. Today he is cancer-free and still has a nice looking leg!

Skin cancer is a serious condition. It is the most common cancer in the United States. You can read more about skin cancer disparities in a post the author of this post and medical student, Alexa Mieses, wrote for Medscape here.

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