What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is a procedure that involves the excision of cancer tissue in numerous fine layers. Each layer is examined under a microscope to determine whether cancer cells are present. This process ensures all cancerous tissue is excised from the area, without damaging healthy surrounding tissue in the process.
What Types of Cancer does it Treat?
Mohs surgery is most frequently used to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer. The procedure can also be used to remove more unusual types of melanomas, particularly as the surgery has become more precise and surgeons have become more skilled in this area.
Mohs surgery is often recommended for large cancers or cancer around delicate areas of the face, like the ears, nose and mouth. The procedure is effective in treating aggressive cancers and those with a high recurrence rate as well.
What is the Procedure Like?
Mohs surgery can be a rather lengthy procedure, taking up to four hours for some patients. A large portion of that time, the patient is waiting while tissue samples are carefully examined under a microscope. Patients are given a local anesthetic prior to surgery to ensure they remain comfortable throughout the procedure.
Once the cancer is completely removed, the excised area must be repaired. Depending on the size and location of the wound, repair may be done through suturing, a skin flap or a skin graft. Smaller wounds may even be covered with a dressing and simply given time to heal. Patients are usually back to regular activities within a few days, with full recovery taking between 2-4 weeks.
Why Choose Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is considered a top skin cancer treatment for a number of reasons:
- The surgery has one of the highest cure rates.
- It allows the surgeon to preserve the patient’s cosmetic appearance.
- It is cost-effective because just one treatment is usually needed.
- Risk of complication is relatively small.