Skin Cancer on the Ear*
Typical "Helical Rim" Defect
The outer rim of the ear is called the "helical rim." This cancer is on the mid-helical rim. The mid and upper helical rim are very common places for skin cancer, especially in men since they typically have shorter hair allowing more sun exposure. More
This is a modification of a procedure called an Antia-Buch flap. This procedure releases the rim of the ear allowing it to be shifted up to fill in the hole. For larger holes the standard Antia-Buch flap releases the rim above the defect as well allowing the upper rim to slide down and the lower rim to slide up. More
Ear Skin Cancers need Mohs
Historically, ear skin cancers have had the highest rate of recurrence for skin cancers on the face. In the past the recurrence rates were 10-20% using traditional surgical excision. That's pretty high for skin cancer. Why?
We don't have all the answers, but here are a few of reasons that seem consistent:
1. Too conservative - traditional surgical excision may have been too conservative at times in order to avoid distorting the shape of the ear.
2. 3-D - the three-dimensional shape of the ear can make orientation in the laboratory difficult if residual cancer is discovered under the microscope.
3. More aggressive - ear skin cancer may grow in a more insidious way that other skin cancers on the face.
4. Prior treatment- multiple treatments with other therapies like cryotherapy or topical chemotherapy creams can sometimes leave skin cancer incompletely treated and more insidious.
For these reasons, Mohs surgery is typically recommended for skin cancer on the ear. For a primary skin cancer (primary = never treated before) the cure rates are in the upper 90 percentile. In addition to the highest cure rate, Mohs surgery allows for conservative layer by layer removal in order to maximize the functional and cosmetic results.
*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.