Eyelid tumor surgery (basalioma)

With eyelid tumour surgery, we offer you a proven and safe treatment for tumours of the eyelids. The aim of the operation is to completely remove altered tissue - whether benign or malignant. We attach particular importance to preserving the eyelid function as well as the aesthetic aspect of the eyelid. After the surgical removal of a eyelid tumour, a microscopic examination of the removed tissue is carried out by a pathologist. This allows the exact diagnosis to be made or the clinically established diagnosis to be confirmed. At the same time, the pathologist can make sure that the eyelid tumour has been completely removed.

What is basal cell carcinoma?

Basalioma is a malignant skin tumour that belongs to the group of light or white skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of cancer and tends to occur in areas with high exposure to the sun. This includes the face in particular, but also the backs of the hands and the forearms. As a rule, basaliomas do not form metastases. However, the local growth can lead to destruction of the eyelids and, in the worst case, the eye socket. Therefore, surgical removal is indispensable.

More than 90% of malignant eyelid tumours are basaliomas. They often appear at the edge of the eyelid, where they are noticeable as small tumours, lumps or thickenings. In principle, every change on the eyelid is called a eyelid tumour. This also includes benign changes such as warts, styes or fatty deposits. In this case, eyelid tumour surgery is not absolutely necessary. If a malignant change is suspected, the tumour is removed in case of doubt and the tissue is then examined microscopically.

How does a eyelid tumour develop?

The cause of a basal cell carcinoma on the eyelid is usually high UV exposure. Many of those affected have been frequently exposed to the sun for decades. Accordingly, older people suffer from eyelid tumours more often than younger people. Some patients also seem to have an increased genetic risk of developing the disease.

How can I recognise a eyelid tumour?

Eyelid tumours can look different depending on the type of tumour. For example, they appear as nodules, thickening or tumours. Even if an encrusted lesion simply does not want to heal, it can be a eyelid tumour. Eyelid tumours can be brown, black or skin-coloured. It is therefore important to observe even inconspicuous changes on the eyelid and have them examined if necessary. Basaliomas usually develop gradually over months and years. However, there are tumours that appear very quickly and then disappear on their own. If a change in the eyelid persists for a long time and eyelashes may fall out or crusty plaques form, an ophthalmologist should always be consulted. Some eyelid tumours can also metastasise or threaten your eyesight. However, these are very rare.

When does a eyelid tumour need surgery?

Eyelid tumour surgery is always recommended when a eyelid tumour is malignant or suspicious. We often take a small tissue sample before a basalioma operation. This is then examined in the laboratory for fine tissue, so that we can assess the type of tumour with certainty. Benign skin changes usually do not need to be operated on, unless the patient wants this for cosmetic reasons. Growth in size or a functional restriction caused by the tumour can also be reasons for an operation. In the case of malignant tumours, the aim is to remove them completely with a safety margin.

What is the procedure for an eyelid tumour operation?

In our eye clinic we usually treat malignant eyelid tumours in a so-called 2-stage operation. This is the safest option, especially for larger eyelid basaliomas. In the first operation, the tumour is completely removed. Then, usually on the following day, the reconstruction of the eyelid region takes place. The aim is to restore the function and aesthetic appearance of the eyelid. The reconstruction is only carried out after the complete removal of the tumour has been histologically checked and confirmed. Prior to basal cell carcinoma surgery, a comprehensive ophthalmological examination is performed. Clinically clear basaliomas are usually removed without prior tissue sampling. If the findings are unclear, a small tissue sample is first surgically removed and examined in the laboratory, and then the further procedure is planned according to the type of tumour.

What should be considered after basalioma surgery?

As a rule, eyelid tumour operations only cause minor downtime. Initial swelling or bruising will usually subside within a few days with cooling. You should take a break from sports and physical activities for a few days, or even for 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the type of surgery. Contact lens wearers should temporarily switch to glasses.

No direct sunlight should fall on the suture to avoid disturbing pigment shifts in the skin. The stitches are removed 7 to 14 days after the operation. Your attending doctor will check the healing process and the position of the eyelid again.

Can the eyelid tumour recur after the operation?

After surgery for a eyelid tumour, there is always a certain risk that the eyelid tumour will recur. However, the vast majority of all patients can be completely cured. Basal cell carcinoma recurs in about 5% of cases. Most recurrences occur in the first two years after eyelid tumour surgery. The attending physician will discuss the necessary follow-up examinations with you.