What You Should Know About Mohs Surgery
Although a skin cancer diagnosis can be frightening, our patients at Associated Dermatologists can take comfort in knowing that our providers are experts in performing Mohs micrographic surgery. For many non-melanoma skin cancers, including those in cosmetically sensitive areas, aggressive skin cancers, and skin cancers that have re-occurred, Mohs surgery remains the gold-standard for treatment.
Here, we explain what you need to know about Mohs surgery.
Causes of skin cancer
Mohs surgery is used for the treatment of the two most common forms of skin cancer. Squamous cell cancer affects the cells located below the outer surface of skin, while basal cell carcinoma affects new skin cells just below the squamous cell layer.
The most common cause of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) light from sun exposure. Sun-exposed areas of your skin are most vulnerable, and your skin risk may increase if you have a history of serious sunburns, if you have moles, or if you develop precancerous lesions on your skin.
What is Mohs surgery?
The Mohs technique is an improvement over previous surgical excision methods. It allows your surgeon to see where the area affected by cancer ends. This enables removal of the cancerous tissue with high precision, leaving healthy skin intact.
The Mohs specialists at Associated Dermatologists are Mohs fellowship trained surgeons, meaning our team has completed extensive Mohs training. Mohs surgery is most often performed safely in-office using local anesthesia.
The Mohs process
The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove affected areas of skin, one layer at a time, to eliminate cancerous cells. Your surgeon starts by removing visible skin cancer and a small margin around it. The site gets mapped and the tissue sample is cut into slices so your surgeon can examine the tissue layers closely in the lab to look for any cancer cells.
If the skin sample has cancerous cells, the surgeon removes and examines another layer. The process is repeated until all signs of skin cancer are removed. This ensures that only healthy skin remains.
Advantages of Mohs surgery
Mohs surgery is highly successful at treating basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. The surgery is precise and leaves more healthy skin. This is beneficial for treating skin cancer that appears on the more delicate areas of skin, such as your:
Unlike more aggressive surgeries to treat skin cancer, Mohs surgery can be completed quickly without the need for an extended recovery. Because skin samples needed to evaluate the presence of cancer are only thin layers rather than thick areas of tissue, the risk for complications such as infection are low, and surgeons work to minimize scarring.
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our Mohs specialists, call us today and speak with one of our team members. Our Center for Skin Surgery is located at our location in Novi, Michigan. You can also send us a secure message through our website.