Skin cancer

A place for people affected by any type of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, to support one another, ask questions, and share their experiences.

Recovery from forehead flap nose reconstruction

Peneloperae
Posted by

Hello Shelly - so glad to hear you had the surgery and now you are on the healing side of things!  Black eyes are so uncomfortable but they will be gone soon.  You made it through and you are a courageous woman - my thoughts are with you through the healing. 

Please let us know how you are doing.

Warm wishes, Penelope :) xoxox

Chernasalflap
Posted by

I had two cheek flap surgeries and have one surgery left and  then some procedures where I’m awake. They’re rebuilding the right side of my nose that was torn off in a strange vicious dog attack and I tried hard to avoid skin cancer all this time after seeing the small removals my relatives went through, especially my great aunt with the major forehead flap surgery.... so I bonded and met with a Moh’s surgery patient maybe because weee like twins with similar developing scars to our face on the cheek so I thought he’d be going to the sixth floor, but he was from the seventh floor where they treat cancer and thought he’d be going to the sixth eventually for reconstructive surgery or to improve the scar, but he said no, but I think I’m around many Mohs surgery patients from the 7th floor originally now. 

I am in fear that I’ll have this tickle to my nose underneath my flap and the nerves will never grow so I can finally scratch it. I noticed I had no visible white heads for two months and notice the sebaceous glands coming back in as the next surgery gets closer. My nose feels overdressed and hot unlike the left breathing easy light feeling side of my face so I’m hoping to get sweat glands. I’ve started exercising more to help it develop better and although it’s been over month month since surgery, my nose flap felt sore in the morning and I’m encouraged to massage the area. They’ll be doing more sculpting next so part of my nose literally looks like attached sculpting putty laid on top of the bit remaining part of my nostril. Will the tickle go away eventually? I had TN or PN this year that just started shocking the right side of my face this year maybe because of B12 and the shocking seemed to subside, but is coming back so I’m adhering from meds that may be messing up B12 metabolism. Any nerve problems or problems getting the area colored off like the rest of the face after many months or one year? Problems with the nose not being straight again or the septum not straight and retention you didn’t have before or bumps. I read after my surgery that the forehead surgery in a study was more functional and asthetically pleasing overall to the patients than the cheek flap surgery and I’m trying to convince my other doctor that I had a straight nose with no remtention and a straighter septum with a slight upturn that changed after the first surgery when they turned my nose to the right to attach to the cheek skin graft, so I’m kind of looking up strangers and loved ones noses wanting my septum straighter like them or a nostril and hoping this new bump on the side from tension will smooth out after the graft that seemed to thicken 50% after surgery making the nose more crooked again and veering to the right.

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi

Wow, you do seem to be going through it!

Excuse me if I'm wrong but you might be in the wrong place to discuss the surgery you're having. Macmillan's online community is for people who have cancer, where they can speak to others in the same position, and in the case of this particular forum skin cancer. I couldn't see from your message what sort of skin cancer you had. Apologies in advance if I've misread your post.

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

2ndfiddle
Posted by

I’ve just spent most of the afternoon reading all the posts from everyone here about their forehead flap surgeries for cancer on their nose. I must tell you that it is incredibly helpful to be able to read about what y’all have been through. So thank you all for posting. 

That said, I hope there are still people posting/reading here. It looks like the last post was in May. 

I had a lesion on my scalp last fall. The PA said it was an SK, no big deal. When it didn’t heal and started bleeding, he agreed to do a biopsy. Turned out it was SCC, so I had my first Mohs surgery in November. It was not very big and was closed with regular sutures.

Around the the same time I noticed a tiny spot on the tip of my nose that would scab, then fall off, then scab again. So I insisted on a biopsy for that, and it turned out to be BCC. My dermatologist had to take 5 layers of my nose, but I’m cancer-free now. He will be doing the repair on Monday morning (it’s saturday night now), so I’m getting pretty nervous. He said he was surprised at how invasive this one was, but it was more wide than deep.

Im 65 and female, married, and my hubby and I live in a big house with our daughter and her family. Her kids are 4, 6 and 9, so I’m very concerned about freaking them out after surgery. My doctor said I’ll be all bandaged, but what have been others’ experiences with young children?

Also, when will I be able to shower/wash my hair? Wash my face? I keep thinking of questions that I didn’t ask the nurses.

I really hope this site is still active. I haven’t found another one anywhere. 

2ndfiddle 

latchbrook
Posted by

Hi and welcome to the skin cancer online forum

I'm glad to hear that reading all the posts on here has given you a lot of help. As you've probably already discovered there are lots of people on here who have had BCCs removed from their nose. Hopefully one or two will be along to tell you about their experiences soon.

I realise that your operation is tomorrow so you might not have had replies before then. Hopefully the nurse will be able to advise you on how to look after your wound and when you can shower and wash your hair again.

You could also start a new discussion asking this question as probably the earlier posters on this thread will no longer be on here. Thankfully, BCCs are very easily treatable and rarely require any follow up so most people leave the forum once they're on the road to recovery.

Best wishes for tomorrow and pop back and let us know how you get on.

 "Never regret a day in your life, good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience"

What is a Community Champion?

2ndfiddle
Posted by

Hi Latchbrook. Thanks for your reply. I’ll come back after surgery and see if anyone else has posted. 

2ndfiddle
Posted by

Surgery went well yesterday. I saw the doc today and his tech changed the dressings and cleaned off a lot of dried blood. He will probably do part 2 at the end of the month. So now I’m just taking it easy and trying to stay ahead of the pain. 

Hope others will will chime in before too long.

Starbank
Posted by

I had my BCC removed from my nose almost 3wks ago but my surgeon wants me to wait before deciding on my best option, ie; flap or graft, is this normal? 

Starbank
Posted by

Hi 2nd fiddle, I had my BCC removed from my nose on the 25th June, I still have an open wound as my surgeon wants to see how much my nose will fill up because it was a deep wound before deciding on the next step. I was wondering how you are now and what stages you have been through and what stages are left to complete? I hope that you are recovering well and it's nice to have someone else to converse with while going through this experience.

Best wishes Starbank.

2ndfiddle
Posted by

HI Starbank. 

I have not not heard of anyone waiting that long before doing the repair, but each case is different. My "defect" was more wide than deep, and did not require any cartilage or anything else. 

I had the first part of the forehead flap done almost two weeks ago. The flap is still attached and will be removed on 7/30. I had all of the forehead sutures and every other nose suture removed 5 days ago. I now have steri-strips on my forehead, but the incision already looks great. I've been going to my doc's office 2-3 times/week for dressing changes - I'm glad I don't have to do it!

There has only been minimal pain for a couple days following the Moh's surgery and part one of the forehead flap surgery. It hurts a bit when the surgical techs clean it, but not bad. The other problem I'm having is with my vision. With this surgery, the flap comes down just in front of the corner of one eye. Im unable to wear my glasses because of the dressing, so reading is a huge problem. I also have allergies, with stuffy nose (can't really blow my nose) and itchy/watery eyes (can't scratch). The doc said I can gently and carefully stick a q-tip in there to scratch the itch. 

I think my biggest issue has been mental/emotional. I haven't gone anywhere except the doctor since surgery and haven't been driving. I'm very bored and feel the walls closing in sometimes, which gets me thinking about everything - cancer, surgeries, what about THIS bump?, etc., etc. The process (with the forehead flap) takes longer than some other repairs, and I think just the length of time it all takes plays a part too. Hopefully your repair will not be so long and drawn-out as mine, but then again, there are a LOT of people who have gone through the forehead flap surgery and come out fine at the other end. We will too. 

Please keep in in touch about your surgery, etc., or if you just want to vent.

Bev

Starbank
Posted by

Hi Bev, thank you for your reply, it does help hearing how other people cope with everything they are going through. I do hope you start to feel more confident and not so closed in soon. Maybe just being able to talk on this site with someone who really understands how you feel might help. I think anything that sets you apart from 'normal' society can have a very profound effect on our psyche and can leave us feeling alone and lonely. We are experiencing something that I'm sure we never dreamed of in our lives. Please feel free to stay in touch and maybe we can support and help each other

With best wishes 

Starbank.

Rebecca Rebecca
Posted by

Hello Bev

So sorry to hear what you are going through.  My journey has been ongoing since January this year and, like you, the biggest issue for me has been dealing with it emotionally and mentally.  Also, other people and them thinking it is fine to comment on how I look has affected me big time.

I think it is important to listen to your body and go with you feel, which will probably change daily.  My world has closed in and become smaller since the beginning of my treatment, and I have just spent time with the people closest to me.  I have continued going to the gym but have just done yoga, a class/sport where I haven't had to mix with anyone.  I have also enjoyed spending time at home, which is a rare treat!  As well as all of that, I think it is important to try and keep busy and occupied.  It has been so hard facing the day and going to work every day, looking the way I do (I've a left cheek which is red, sore, swollen, scabby and weeping at times!) but it has been a godsend being busy, occupied and distracted.

Thinking of you.

Rebecca x

Nankeen
Posted by

I've been following everyone's stories carefully as I'm booked in to have Mohs surgery for a bcc on the tip of my nose in late November. It's an infiltrative bcc & quite large as the dermatologist was treating it as a sun spot for 2 years. After I met with the Mohs surgeon he sent me to the plastic surgeon for a consultation & it seems certain that I will be having a forehead flap. This means that I'll have the revision surgery just before Christmas. I wonder if anyone can tell me how long it takes in weeks or months to feel confident appearing in public after the revision surgery. I am going to a wedding at the end of March which will be 3 months after the revision. How noticeable will the graft be at that time? I know everyone heals differently & the skill of the plastic surgeon is also important but I can't find any definitive information about how it might look after 3 months. I'm dreading the whole experience but also realise just how lucky I am that it's not a melanoma & that I live in a country with good healthcare. The two month wait for surgery is stressful but it's giving me time to get things in order and find out as much as I possibly can.

Many thanks in advance for answers to my queries.

Best wishes,

Emily

2ndfiddle
Posted by

Hi Emily. 

You should be more than ready for the wedding in March.

I had my Mohs surgery in early July, and had a dressing on my nose. I did go out, but only if really necessary. I had the forehead flap done about 5 days later. Then I had a bulky dressing over my nose and my forehead. I went to my dr every two to three days for them to check things out and to change the dressings and clean the wounds.  The only place I went during this time was the dr’s office.

The flap was “taken down” (disconnected) after about three weeks, so maybe the 2nd or 3rd week in August. Stitches came out from my forehead after a week. I wore a dressing or large bandaid over the forehead area but It was mostly to keep my grandkids from going “ewww.” I wore a dressing over my nose until the stitches came out, which was just a few days after the forehead stitches were removed. Once I was down to just bandaids, I felt ok going out in public and being around my grandkids.

I’m sorry you have to go through this. it’s no fun, but you have the right attitude - and the cancer will be gone! I will add that I had minimal pain during this time. The worst sensation was itching. And boredom was a problem for me. You’ll be fine and back to normal before you know it. 

I am retired, so I didn’t have to worry about going to work. 

Oh, My dr did a laser treatment on my nose two weeks ago to smooth out any bumps or scars, I wore a loose bandaid over my nose until the scabs came off, about 5-6 days. Now it’s just a little pink, but overall, it’s looking great. 

Bev

nogswife
Posted by

Hi Emily 

Sorry that you have to go through this. I'm almost 3 years post surgery now and you can hardly tell I've had anything done.

It takes a few months for everything to settle down after the separation I must admit but each day shows an improvement. I would say that the scars will still show a bit of redness after 3 months and maybe not be as flat as you'd like them but hey you've undergone a major facial surgery so own them.

The only good advice I can give is keep a vigorous cleaning routine 3 or 4 times a day and apply the gel they give you. I got some saline from the chemist and used cotton wool and q tips to clean. After I had the 2nd lot of stitches removed I used the gel for another 7 days then normal vaseline for a few more weeks. 

I also never left the house during the first stage only for my hospital appointments as I didn't want the open flesh to get infected. 

I have posted a few pics of my process on my blog if you want to look at the different stages.

Feel free to ask any questions and I hope everything goes well for you. I know it's a daunting experience at the time but I can promise you the results will be good.

Regards 

Angie