The Department of Plastic Surgery consists of 17 Cleveland Clinic plastic surgeons, making it one of the largest plastic surgery departments in the country. Our specialists have significant experience and expertise in all areas of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, especially in the areas of facial cosmetic surgery, cosmetic and reconstructive breast surgery, body contouring, pediatric craniofacial surgery, upper extremity surgery, and reconstructive microsurgery. Each staff demonstrates a further refined area within plastic and reconstructive surgery as reflected in clinical work, education and research.

As a team, our plastic surgeons collaborate with physicians from other medical and surgical specialties to give our patients comprehensive care of their aesthetic and reconstructive needs. These include specialists in Otolaryngology (ENT), Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery and Dermatology.

Clinical research is critical to advancing our specialty. The Department of Plastic Surgery has ongoing clinical research projects in a large number of areas. This includes the most diverse national experience in the FDA Inamed Cohesive Gel Breast Implant Multicenter effort; significant enrollment (more than 200 patients) in the Inamed/Mentor/FDA Silicone Breast Implant prospective study; a variety of clinical studies to minimize postoperative pain and numerous studies investigating the enhancement of wound healing.

Learn more about cosmetic plastic surgery

Why Choose Us

Why Choose Us

At Cleveland Clinic’s Melanoma Program, the multidisciplinary team of pathologists, dermatologists, surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, as well as others works together to develop the optimal treatment plan for each patient. This means that in addition to recommending a treatment most likely to result in a cure, they consider the option that will have the least effect on important body functions and appearance.

As a result, with only a single appointment, patients not only get the highest standard of care but members of a team that are highly involved in all areas of research for melanoma. This means state-of-the-art treatments, bringing hope to those who previously had no treatment options for their cancers.

Outcomes of melanoma patients at Cleveland Clinic's Melanoma Program compare favorably with data published nationally, and in some stages patients were found to have a better survival rate than that documented in multicenter studies.

We also offer patients reconstructive surgery options for those with large or complex melanoma removals.

Learn more about our Reconstructive Surgery services.
Our Team

Our Team

  • Claudia Marcela Diaz, PhD
  • Earnest Borden, MD
Treatments & Procedures

Treatments & Procedures

The stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis is a primary factor in determining the treatment. Surgery is used to treat many types of skin cancer and is a standard treatment for melanoma.

If the melanoma is in an early stage, it may be removed during the biopsy or through surgery that removes the cancer along with some healthy-looking skin around it. In some cases, this is the only treatment that is needed.

In cases where the melanoma has spread beyond the skin to the neighboring lymph nodes or beyond, additional treatments may be needed. These could include:

  • Lymphadenectomy.
    If melanoma has spread to nearby lymph nodes, this surgery removes the affected nodes.
  • Metastectomy
    Removal of single isolated deposits of melanoma from organs.
  • Chemotherapy
    This uses drugs to kill the cancer cells. Historically, chemotherapy was used to treat metastatic or stage IV melanoma, but is now considered for third line therapy.
  • Radiation therapy
    This uses X-rays or other high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
  • Biological therapy
    Also called immunotherapy, this treatment helps the patient’s immune system fight the cancer.
  • Targeted therapy
    Targeted therapy drugs are technically considered chemotherapy but are a separate class that interferes with the cancers internal growth pathway. Clinical Trials and Research (tab) Cancer clinical trials, also called research studies, test many types of treatments such as new drugs, new surgical techniques or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods. The goal of the research is to find better ways to treat cancer.
  • Mohs Surgery
    Removes skin cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible, critical in carcinomas near the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet and genitals.
Melanoma Program

Melanoma Program

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 2 million people are treated annually for two types of skin cancers: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. These cancers are categorized as nonmelanoma skin cancers — along with other rarer types including keratoacanthoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous (skin) lymphomas, Kaposi sarcoma, skin adnexal tumors and sarcomas — and are rarely life-threatening, especially if they are diagnosed early.

A third type of skin cancer, melanoma, is one of the most dangerous and the number of new cases diagnosed each year is on the rise. Skin cancer is almost always curable when caught and treated early. That’s why it is critical to see a physician at the first sign of any abnormality in your skin. The treatment of skin cancer depends on the type and extent of the disease, but surgery is the standard treatment for melanoma.

Melanoma can grow quickly and has the ability to spread to any organ. Some melanomas grow radially on the skin’s surface (meaning they are growing outward, or horizontally, across the skin). Others spread vertically, deep into the skin’s layers. Early detection is especially important because treatment success is directly related to the depth of invasion into the skin.

Melanomas can occur on any part of the body. In men, they tend to be on the trunk while women are more likely to have them on the arms and legs. Most melanomas are black or brown in color, but they may also be skin-colored, pink, red or purple.

Experts in Cleveland Clinic’s Melanoma Program treat melanoma by completely removing the tumor while saving as much healthy skin as possible. The multidisciplinary program is a joint program of the Dermatology & Plastic Surgery, Taussig Cancer, Genomic Medicine, Pathology and Lab Medicine, and the Lerner Research institutes. It provides patients with access to a team of highly skilled dermatologists, plastic surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists as well as specialty nurses, dietitians, physical therapists and social workers. This coordinated team is dedicated to providing patients with the highest level of convenience and best outcomes possible.

Make An Appointment

Our friendly staff of Advanced Practice Nurses and Coordinators have years of experience in addressing the cancer-related concerns of patients, non-patients, caregivers, and even physicians. We can also help you to schedule an appointment with one of our cancer specialists. Call the Cancer Answer Line at 866.223.8100 to find a skin cancer specialists.

Patient Referrals

Patient Referrals

Cleveland Clinic welcomes the opportunity to partner with you in caring for your patients. Our dedicated Referring Physician team is available around-the-clock and committed to serving you and your patients.

Please contact our Referring Physician Hotline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for all your needs, by calling 855.REFER.123 (855.733.3712).

Contact the Referring Physician Hotline to obtain information on our clinical specialists and services; schedule and confirm patient appointments; receive assistance in the resolution of any service-related issues; and connect with Cleveland Clinic specialists.

When contacting us to schedule your patients, please have the following information readily available:
  • Patient demographic information
  • Diagnosis/Reason for visit
  • Any special needs that will require facilitation once the patient arrives
  • Patient insurance information, if available

We will work with your patient to complete the registration process and to schedule an appointment at the patient's convenience. You will be notified once the appointment is scheduled.

To contact our Melanoma Program specialists, call 866.223.8100.

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

In clinical trials, patients receive treatment and doctors carry out research on how the treatment affects patients. A person’s progress is closely monitored during the trial. Once the treatment portion of the trial has been completed, patients may continue to be followed in order to gather information regarding specific endpoints. These endpoints are defined prior to the study being started and may include time for disease progression and/or overall survival.