Same-day excision, results and closure for skin cancer patients

Dr. John Eckel, Dr. Olga Voronel, and Dr. Henri Gaboriau are pictured in our pathology department.
February 25, 2022

Adirondack Health offers patients in need of skin cancer removal a one-time procedure, featuring a precise excision and same-day results. And although this procedure has been available for years, a collaborative approach between plastic surgeon Dr. Henri Gaboriau and pathologists Dr. John Eckel and Dr. Olga Voronel is gaining in popularity – especially among North Country residents wanting to keep their care close to home.

Often in the past, Dr. Gaboriau said patients weren’t aware that Adirondack Health offered this procedure, called a frozen section. It is similar to the Mohs procedure, another precise surgery performed by dermatologists.

“What’s happening is a lot of the patients have gone to Vermont or Albany to have their skin cancer removed,” Dr. Gaboriau said. “They go to see a dermatologist, who will remove the cancer and right away put it under a microscope to make sure the full cancer has been removed. Then, usually the patient is sent to a reconstructive surgeon to have the incision closed. So, it often takes several visits.”

What Adirondack Health offers with the recent addition of Dr. Gaboriau, a board-certified plastic surgeon since 1998 with training in skin cancer, is a one-visit excision with results and reconstruction. Dr. Gaboriau is a native of Brittany, France, but came to Adirondack Health after running his own surgical center and medical spa outside of Seattle for the past 20 years.

Dr. Eckel is the medical director of Adirondack Health’s laboratory and has 34 years of experience. Dr. Voronel came to Adirondack Health three and a half years ago and has 12 years of experience in pathology. And Dr. Gaboriau said having two pathologists readily available is highly unique.

“We are three highly-trained individuals with years of experience, and we work together as a team in one place,” Dr. Gaboriau said. “In some other places, you have to see the dermatologist or surgeon in one visit and come back to do the reconstruction in another.”

The procedure gives feedback in real time, Dr. Voronel said, balancing the size of the tissue excision with the need to remove the tumor entirely.

“What we’re able to do is give almost immediate feedback to the surgeon, [as to] whether or not more tissue needs to be taken to completely remove the tumor. It happens in essentially one step as opposed to multiple visits. . . and driving two hours potentially only to be told to come back.”

Dr. Gaboriau said the number of skin cancer diagnosis has grown rapidly over the last 20 years and is now the most common cancer for individuals.

“For Adirondack Health to have this capability right here in house is absolutely amazing,” he said.

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