Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, particularly from the sun, is the most common cause of skin cancer. Skin cancers produced by damaging UV rays from the sun are more common in lighter skin types. As a result, these tumours frequently affect sun-exposed regions of the face, neck and limbs. Skin cancers can form in areas not exposed to the sun in some situations, especially in people with dark skin tones.

Skin cancers are commonly treated with surgery. The alternatives vary depending on the type of skin cancer, its size, location on the body and other considerations. A local anaesthetic is used to numb the skin before skin cancer excision. The tumour and surrounding normal skin margin are then removed. Skin defects created by small tumour excision can usually be closed with standard suturing. Defects of larger lesions will require some kind of tissue reconstruction to fill or close the defect. Dr Moodie will discuss the different available options with the patient, who could include skin graft, local flap, regional flap or free flap reconstruction.

Dr Moodie is a member of the Pretoria Multi-Disciplinary (MDT) Head and Neck Forum, where these cancers cases are presented to a large group of specialists from a wide range of specialities involved in the management of head and neck cancers to decide on the best management for an individual patient.



1Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It rarely spreads to regional lymph nodes or distant organs but can cause significant local tissue infiltration and destruction. It commonly occurs in sun-exposed body regions, such as the face, neck and limbs. These lesions are most commonly removed by surgery.
2Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
The second most common type of skin cancer. These lesions usually occur in areas of chronic sun exposure or areas of chronic inflammation/wounds. SCCs may occur externally involving the skin or internally involving the mucous membrane of the mouth, nose, throat or eye in the head and neck region. SCCs spread to the region's lymph nodes and distant organs and should therefore be addressed early and adequately, which includes resection of the lesion and possibly the regional lymph nodes followed by Chemo-radiotherapy. Specific management is tailored to each patient after discussion at the Pretoria (MDT) Head and Neck Forum.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that starts in the cells that control your skin's pigment (melanocytes). It accounts for only 4% of skin cancers but is the most feared type. These lesions may occur anywhere in the body, external skin or internal. Lesions usually present as pigmented but may lack pigment in rare cases. Lesions spread to regional lymph nodes and distant organs and require prompt surgical management with multidisciplinary management where indicated.
4Skin cancer reconstruction plastic surgery
Patients with facial skin cancer confront a particularly challenging struggle. Not only do these patients have to deal with cancer, but the treatment and removal of that cancer have an impact on their faces and the way that they look. Once the malignancy has been removed, the task of reconstructing without sacrificing aesthetics or function begins.
Skin cancer's effects can never be totally reversed, and no skin surgery can be performed without leaving a scar. However, reconstruction of facial skin cancer abnormalities aims to restore the individual's facial form and function as closely as possible to normal so that the skin cancer does not leave the individual with permanent repercussions. The larger the lesion, the greater the risk of significant cosmetic and functional implications.


1How long does skin cancer reconstruction take?
Reconstructing a small lesion can take one hour. Large lesions that require free flap transfer could take 6-10 hours.
2Is skin cancer reconstruction painful?
Depending on the size of the lesion and the reconstructive method chosen, pain and discomfort will differ. Dr Moodie works with his Anaesthetist to make your post-operative recovery time as comfortable as possible.
3How long does skin cancer reconstruction take to heal?
The healing process visible on the skin will seem healed in 2-3 weeks. Scar tissue and deep tissue can take as long as a year to heal and mature.



Beethoven, 1812



Dr Moodie knew that he wanted to become a surgeon from the onset of his medical school training at the University of Pretoria, finding the opportunity to repair the human body extraordinary.

His logo, which you see on this website, was inspired by a sculpture by Reghardt van der Meulen “Fragmented“.