One of the most interesting areas that I specialise in is the reconstruction of eyelids after the removal of skin cancers. It is fascinating because every cancer is different in location, size and shape. After the reconstruction, the remaining eyelid must continue to function as an eyelid, appear symmetric with the opposite side and look normal. My greatest satisfaction is when patients return after their recovery and I have difficulty discerning whether anything has been done.

Without getting into the nitty gritty of the reconstruction process, how can I explain how I do this? By using this example of the endless block of chocolate as shown in this video clip (credit: Mariano Tomatis).

The chocolate square removed is analogous to the skin cancer, while the remaining block represents the rest of the eyelid. The adjacent skin is moved around, the defect is filled and sutured in place using very fine stitches.  Everything looks just like before minus the cancer. For those interested, the explanation for the endless chocolate block also applies to eyelid reconstruction.

Warning: this video is mesmerising.

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Please note Dr Tai Smith is consulting at Chermside, Springwood, Caboolture and Bundaberg. He no longer consults at South Brisbane.