If you have a facial tumor, or neoplasm, you may need maxillofacial surgery.
Though not every neoplasm requires surgical treatment, some tumors can pose a serious health threat. Because of this, anyone who notices an abnormal growth on the face should schedule a consultation with an expert in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Facial tumors can also profoundly affect the appearance, so many people choose to have them removed. And, if you decide to go that route — or your surgeon says removal is the right treatment approach – you can rest easy in knowing that the maxillofacial surgery procedure is relatively simple and that, for most patients, the prognosis is excellent.
Types of Facial Tumors
Neoplasms fall into one of three categories – benign tumors, pre-cancerous tumors and malignant tumors.
Benign growths are generally not life-threatening, and they either grow slowly or don’t change over time. Examples include moles, skin tags, raised scar tissue and neoplasms triggered by insect bites, infection or injury.
Pre-cancerous tumors are growths that are not yet malignant, but are likely to develop into cancer in the future.
Malignant neoplasms are cancerous growths that can grow and cause damage. If the cancer has spread to other areas, the tumor is considered metastatic.
Diagnosing a Facial Tumor
Certain symptoms, including pain or bleeding near the neoplasm, strongly suggest malignancy. However, to confirm that a tumor is cancerous – or prove that it’s benign – a maxillofacial surgeon needs to perform a biopsy.
A biopsy is a minimally-invasive procedure in which the surgeon removes a sample of the tumor cells. The tissue is then sent to a laboratory, where it’s analyzed by a pathologist.
If the laboratory pathologist determines that a neoplasm is benign, further treatment may not be medically necessary unless the tumor is putting pressure on a facial nerve. Pre-cancerous and malignant neoplasms often require maxillofacial surgery as well as chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Removing a Facial Tumor
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may remove a neoplasm through one of a few different methods, depending upon the location, size and type of facial tumor. The maxillofacial surgery techniques for removal include:
- Curettage – For a small neoplasm that’s are close to the skin’s surface, the surgeon may scrape away the affected tissues with a sharp surgical instrument.
- Excision – When a neoplasm is located deep in the skin, the maxillofacial surgeon may need to make an incision, remove the growth and suture the wound closed.
- Cryosurgery – Some tumors can be frozen with liquid nitrogen, which works to destroy the tissues.
Having a facial tumor doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. But, since any abnormal growth could be malignant, you should schedule an appointment with an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon if you notice a neoplasm.
For an expert evaluation in the greater east central Indiana area, call on the professional team at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Partridge and Dr. Alderman, have more than ten years of experience diagnosing and treating benign, pre-cancerous and malignant neoplasms.
To schedule a facial tumor consultation with the experienced professionals at Richmond Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, contact us today.