Skin Cancer Specialist


  • METHODS: Skin curettage, dessication, surgical ablation, excision, 5-FU treatment, SRT, Moh's surgery, excisional biopsy
  • DURATION OF TREATMENT: Surgical removal of skin cancers can take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the depth of the skin cancer and the mode of plastic surgery repair.
  • RISKS: It is important to diagnose and excise skin cancers early. Avoid aspirin or ibuprofen prior to biopsy or surgery to prevent bruising.


The diagnosis of a basal cell carcinoma or skin cancer begins with a biopsy. Usually, biopsies are performed using one of several surgical techniques such as a punch biopsy, shave biopsy, excisional biopsy, or incisional biopsy. Choosing between the different biopsy options is relatively straightforward and depends on the risk of removal, the likelihood of obtaining a skin cancer diagnosis, and the risk of scarring. Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian works very closely with a board certified dermatopathologist who has decades of experience in diagnosing pathologies related to skin cancers, including basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma.

Basal cell skin cancers are easily diagnosed and biopsied by board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian. Of the three main types of skin cancers seen in our Santa Monica plastic surgery practice, basal cell skin cancer is the least aggressive and tends to grow within only the skin layers. That being said, it is imperative that you seek early diagnosis and management of your skin cancer.


Melanoma is one of the three most common skin cancer diagnoses in the among industrialized nations. Unlike basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, melanomas are usually pigmented and are often diagnosed as dark moles that change in color over time.

Most of us have heard of a mnemonic known as the ABCDE's of skin cancer and this relates most closely to melanoma diagnosis. The following is used in our Santa Monica office to detect and screen melanomas among patients:

  • Asymmetry: Check that the mole is symmetrical and equal in size and shape on either side if you draw a line through it.
  • Border: An abnormal mole is usually defined by irregularly shaped or choppy borders that are not smoothly rounded.
  • Color: We try to identify the color tone of a mole and become suspicious when there is more than one color within a single mole.
  • Diameter: Moles that are larger than the width of a pencil eraser are of concern.
  • Evolution: Changes in color, size, and shape of a mole are concerning.


Squamous cell skin cancers are quite common in Southern California and can occur on any skin color or complexion. There are various forms of squamous cell skin cancer that we diagnose in our clinic. Most usually arise from scaly or crusty areas of skin that do not seem to heal as well as the surrounding skin. A delay in diagnosis may further complicate squamous cell skin cancer cure rates.


Making the diagnosis of a skin cancer is very important; but so too is the meticulous attention to detail inherent in the surgical removal of the skin cancer and then reconstructing the area so that you can regain your confidence. If you suspect that you have skin cancer, or have obtained a biopsy-proven diagnosis of skin cancer, Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian can give you the peace of mind and the surgical expertise in the management of the problem. With a keen eye for detail, Dr. Karamanoukian can surgical excise the skin cancer and then carefully reconstruct the area to minimize scars. Trust only a plastic surgeon expert to manage your skin cancer. 


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