The Most Effective Technique for Treating Common Skin Cancers
Mohs surgery is considered the most effective technique for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), the two most common types of skin cancer. Sometimes called Mohs micrographic surgery, the procedure is done in stages, including lab work, while the patient waits. This allows the removal of all cancerous cells for the highest cure rate while sparing healthy tissue and leaving the smallest possible scar.
Mohs surgery is performed a doctor who are specially trained to fulfill three roles:
What happens during the surgery?
The procedure is done in stages, all in one visit, while the patient waits between each stage. After removing a layer of tissue, the surgeon examines it under a microscope in an on-site lab. If any cancer cells remain, the surgeon knows the exact area where they are and removes another layer of tissue from that precise location, while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. The doctor repeats this process until no cancer cells remain.
Once the site is clear of all cancer cells, the wound may be left open to heal or the surgeon may close it with stitches. This depends on its size and location. In some cases, a wound may need reconstruction with a skin flap, where neighboring tissue is moved into the wound, or possibly a skin graft. In some cases, your Mohs surgeon may coordinate the repair of your wound with another specialist such as a plastic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon or hand surgeon. In most instances, however, the Mohs surgeon will repair the wound immediately after obtaining clear margins.
If more than one or two rounds are needed, the entire process can take up to several hours, so be prepared for that. This precise technique has the highest cure rate of any treatment method and can save the greatest amount of healthy tissue, leaving the smallest scar possible. Carefully follow our doctor’s instructions for wound care, scar care and follow-up to achieve the best outcome.
Please reach us at 518-452-1928 if you cannot find an answer to your question.
This is impossible to predict. Each and every surgery is different.
This is for your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. You will most likely leave our office with a large pressure dressing that could impede your vision. There is also a risk of postoperative bleeding. If you present without a driver your surgery will be rescheduled.
If your lesion is on your face, head, neck or upper body this rule applies to you. Bending at the waist increases blood flow to the face and upper body and you could begin bleeding or pop open your stitches.
Yes. Large pressure dressings are generally on for 24 hours and we will apply a head wrap if necessary (for example if your lesion is on your ear, forehead or scalp).
This is also impossible to predict. Most patients are here at least a few hours, but every surgery is different.
No. Please continue taking your medications as prescribed, including blood thinners like Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin, etc.
Yes. We use local anesthesia and fasting is unnecessary. If your lesion in on your lip, cheek or temple be prepared for the possibility of being on a liquid diet for 24 hours and soft foods for a week.
No. Most of our patients change their own dressings. Generally, the large dressing is removed after 24 hours and Vaseline and a Band-Aid is applied. If you are uncomfortable changing your own dressing please discuss this with your nurse and an appointment can be arranged.
Yes. Patients form scars as a part of the healing process. It is impossible to have surgery and not have a scar.
Unfortunately due to the nature of Mohs this cannot be predicted. We use a variety of repairs, for example skin grafts, flaps.
After approximately 2-3 months your incision may be healed on the surface. Scars take 6 months to 1 year to mature. Healing is a process and everyone heals at a different rate.
No. They are a fellowship trained Mohs surgeons.
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