Every day more than 9,500 people in the United States are told they have skin cancer. Being diagnosed with skin cancer is unnerving. However, when caught and treated early your chance of a full recovery is excellent.
Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type of skin cancer you have and the size and location of your lesion. However, surgical removal of the cancerous lesion is one of the standard treatments.
Mohs micrographic surgery is one of the techniques our experienced surgical dermatologists at Associated Skin Care Specialists use to remove certain types of cancer. Though Mohs has a high cure rate, we don’t use the procedure for every case.
Here, we provide a guide for why Mohs surgery might be right for you.
Mohs surgery is a surgical technique developed by Dr. Frederic E. Mohs more than 70 years ago. The purpose of the innovative technology is to remove all of the cancerous tissue without damaging any of the healthy skin.
During Mohs micrographic surgery, our fellowship-trained dermatologists remove your cancerous lesion one layer at a time. After removal, our dermatologists examine the layer of skin under a microscope. They continue to remove thin layers of skin until they reach healthy tissue.
Traditional surgical excision of skin cancer involves removing the cancerous lesion along with the surrounding healthy tissue at the same time.
Though surgical excision is one of the treatments we perform for skin cancer, we prefer Mohs surgery because it has a high cure rate and the lowest rate of cancer recurrence and provides the best aesthetic outcomes.
More and more surgical dermatologists are choosing Mohs micrographic surgery to treat skin cancer, says the Skin Cancer Foundation. It’s most often used to treat basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which are the two most common types of skin cancer.
Mohs surgery might be right for you if your BCC or SCC:
We may also recommend Mohs surgery to treat lentigo maligna, which is an early stage of melanoma that only affects the surface of your skin. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer because it grows quickly.
The standard treatment for melanoma is wide surgical excision. We generally perform Mohs surgery on non-melanoma cancerous lesions. Though, we may use the technique for certain types of melanomas located on the head or neck.
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure. Though we may complete the procedure within a few hours, you should plan on taking the entire day off.
It’s often difficult to tell how deep your tumor penetrates your skin until we start your surgery. As noted, the goal of Mohs micrographic surgery is to remove the cancerous lesion one layer at a time until we hit healthy tissue.
We first cleanse your skin with an antiseptic agent and then inject a local anesthetic to minimize pain during the excision. Then, our fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon removes the visible portion of your skin cancer along with some of the tissue underneath.
Our surgeon takes the tissue sample to the lab for examination. This process may take about an hour.
During the tissue examination, our experts cut the lesion into sections and examine each section for signs of cancerous tissue. This process allows your surgeon to pinpoint the exact location of the cancerous tissue and where they need to continue the removal process.
Your surgeon then removes the next layer of cancerous tissue and repeats the examination process. Surgical removal and examination continue until your surgeon reaches healthy tissue. Then, they repair the open wound using techniques that minimize scarring.
Even though Mohs micrographic surgery has a high rate of success, we schedule regular skin evaluations to check for new lesions.
If you think Mohs surgery might be right for you, call our office in Blaine, New Brighton, Maple Grove, Fridley, Eden Prairie, or Coon Rapids, Minnesota today, or request an appointment online.