FV provides surgical treatment and reconstruction for an ear canal melanoma for an elderly American patient

Patient B.P.N. (75 years old, American) was treated for ear canal melanoma at Honolulu Hospital, USA, three years ago. More recently, the patient noticed an ulcer with a diameter of around one centimetre in his left outer ear canal at the previous surgical site. Suspecting his disease had recurred, Mr B.P.N. visited FV Hospital for examination.

He came to FV’s ORL Department and was assigned a biosynthesis by department head Dr Vo Cong Minh. Results showed that the patient had basal cell carcinoma and needed surgery to remove the cancerous skin. The doctor also suggested covering the skin with the full-thickness skin grafts (FTSG).

After consulting with Dr Vo Cong Minh, who carefully explained the nature of the disease, Mr B.P.N. agreed to undergo treatment and the surgery was performed shortly thereafter. The patient received general anaesthesia for the operation. Dr Cong Minh, who has years of experience in operating on ENT diseases, cut a small piece of skin from the edge of the ulcer and sent the sample for a frozen pathology section at FV’s Laboratory and Blood Bank Department. This procedure ensures that the entire area of ​​cancerous skin is removed while preserving the healthy surrounding skin.

The frozen section results were released after 45 minutes, and about 0.2 cm from the edge of the sample had been cleared of cancer cells. Dr. Cong Minh was pleased at the success of the surgery to remove the tumour, but to avoid missing cancer cells in the subcutaneous bone, he drilled the bone behind the ear canal by 0.5 cm. After Dr Cong Minh was sure that all cancer cells had been removed, he took some thick skin from behind Mr B.P.N.’s  ear to cover the gap behind the outer ear canal. The surgery ended after 2:30 p.m., and the patient was discharged after one day. Initial results were very good: the transplanted skin had started developing blood vessels and was connecting well to the skin around the surgical site during the re-examination held two weeks following the surgery.

Broken line is a section of full-thickness skin
Broken line is a section of full-thickness skin

According to Dr Vo Cong Minh, it is necessary to thoroughly remove skin cancer in the outer canal and on the face, generally, to avoid recurrence. Depending on the size and location of the skin defect, after removal, the surgeon can choose to use split-thickness grafts or full-thickness grafts to cover the area.

FTSG is a technique that uses skin containing the entire epidermis and dermis. The full-thickness skin graft is full of nerve ends, hair follicles, and sebaceous glands. The advantage of this method is that the graft shrinks less than the split-thickness skin grafts and ensures particular aesthetics for facial lesions.

FV’s ORL Department is one of the hospital’s most prominent areas, fully equipped with the latest equipment and staffed by a team of experienced Vietnamese and French doctors. The department’s strict anti-infection protocols and international standard environment helps patients to feel more secure when choosing to be examined and receive treatment during the current complicated pandemic situation. A team of excellent postoperative specialists helps patients to recover quickly with less pain after surgery.

To make an appointment with Dr Vo Cong Minh, Head of ORL Department, please contact 028 5411 3333, ext 1382.