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Dec 3, 2020

Regenerative medicine helps with facial reconstruction after skin cancer

By Jennifer O'Hara, @jenohara


For generations, people have intentionally and unintentionally exposed their skin to the sun. As a result, skin cancer has become the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Treatment options are limited for people with skin cancer, especially on the face and more specifically the nose.

Dr. Brittany E. Howard, a Mayo Clinic otolaryngologist, and head and neck surgeon, says the cancer often leaves a patient with deformities. And these patients sometimes require prosthetics. Dr. Howard specializes in facial plastic and reconstruction.

However, Dr. Howard says there is a relatively uncommon reconstructive surgery, using regenerative medicine techniques, that can help a patient return to a new normal and feel less self-conscious.

"After we treat the cancer, the specialized team can work with the patient all the way through the reconstruction surgery," says Dr. Howard.

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Howard talks about research by Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Mayo Clinic surgical team that can reconstruct parts of a patient's face.

To practice safe social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this interview was conducted using video conferencing. The sound and video quality are representative of the technology used. For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. For more information, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

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