Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is a procedural treatment for skin cancers. A dermatologist specially trained in Mohs surgery and histopathology like Dr. Heather Loesch can perform this type of skin cancer treatment.
The procedure is usually done in stages, all in one visit, while the patient waits between each stage. First, the skin cancer lesion is surgically removed and the tissue is processed and placed on a slide that the doctor examines under a microscope. If there are cancer cells remaining, the surgeon knows the exact area where they are and removes another layer of tissue. This process repeats until there are no cancer cells remaining. At the end of the procedure, the surgical site is closed using appropriate suturing (stitching) reconstruction. Mohs surgery ensures complete removal of skin cancer while also removing the least amount of non-cancerous tissue.
After the surgery is over, the surgeon will provide with you with post-op instructions. It’s suggested that you avoid strenuous work or exercise for at least 24-48 hours and to look out for warning signs of any possible wound infection.
What are the Advantages of Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate for skin cancer (95-99%!), while also preserving healthy tissue and maintaining a better cosmetic appearance post-surgery than any other treatment methods. In contrast, other treatment methods typically have cure rates of 50-85%, especially for more aggressive skin cancers.
The reason Mohs surgery is so effective at treating skin cancer is because the technique allows for the evaluation of 100% of the surgical margin. It also allows the surgeon to detect any cancer cells that may typically be left behind with an excision type treatment. Another advantage to Mohs surgery is its relative safety profile, because the surgery uses only local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia.
I have Skin Cancer. Do I Need Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is generally applied to skin cancers found on the face, head, neck, fingers, and toes, where the best cosmetic outcome is desired. However, certain aggressive skin cancer subtypes should be treated with the Mohs technique to ensure that there are no remaining cancer cells after surgery.
Mohs surgery is used when skin cancers are:
- located on or in close proximity to the nose, eyelids, lips, ears, scalp, hands, or feet
- recurrent (have come back after being treated before)
- showing aggressive pathology on the biopsy
- rapidly growing
- not clearly defined
If Mohs surgery sounds like the right treatment for you, contact us to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss any existing health conditions you may have and explain what you can expect from the moment you walk into our office until your surgery is complete.