Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer
Mohs surgery is a special technique that is used by dermatologists to treat certain types of skin cancer.
In Mohs surgery, cancerous skin cells are removed one cell layer at a time. After each layer is removed, it’s examined on the spot under a microscope. Once no more cancerous skin cells are in the removed layer, the surgery is completed.
This technique ensures that benign cells aren’t needlessly removed, while also ensuring that all the malignant cells are excised.
If your dermatologist has recommended Mohs surgery to treat your skin cancer, you should know that this technique was invented all the way back in the 1930s and named after the doctor, Frederick Mohs.
It proved to be so effective that dermatologists still rely on this technique to this day, as a first recourse to remove cancerous skin cells. Mohs surgery often helps patients to avoid more extensive surgery for the treatment of melanoma.
What is Mohs Surgery Used For?
Mohs surgery isn’t for all types of skin cancer. But it offers very positive outcome rates for certain situations, including:
- Your skin cancer has returned after previous treatment
- You have a higher vulnerability of having your skin cancer return
- Your skin cancer is located in a highly visible area of your body
- Your skin cancer is in an area of the body where healthy tissue is greatly needed
- Your skin cancer is aggressive or particularly large in size
- Your skin cancer has poorly defined edges
Types of Mohs Surgery
There is only one type of Mohs Surgery and it’s used to treat melanoma, which is skin cancer. The idea behind this surgery is to keep as much healthy tissue as possible.
Needless tissue removal can cause unnecessary and unsightly scarring in visible areas such as the face and neck. With Mohs surgery, only cancerous cells are removed.
Am I a Candidate For Mohs Surgery?
We recommend Mohs surgery for patients who are not good candidates for more invasive surgery. Since Mohs surgery only necessitates local anesthesia in our office, there’s no need to “go under.” This is optimal for those with heart conditions or other underlying issues.
Whether or not you are a candidate for Mohs surgery also depends upon the nature of your skin cancer and its history. If you have a history of recurring skin cancer in one spot, for example, Mohs surgery may be a great option.
A diagnosis of skin cancer doesn’t have to mean that a large area of skin tissue will be removed from your body. With Mohs surgery, your dermatologist removes only cancerous cells, leaving healthy tissue behind.