Dermatologists recognize Mohs micrographic surgery as a skin cancer treatment with the highest cure rate. Mohs surgeons precisely identify and remove entire tumors while minimizing the removal of normal skin leaving healthy tissue unharmed and leaving smaller scars. The physician conducts a full examination of the cancerous tissue under the microscope ensuring that all margins of the skin are tumor-free.
Surgery typically starts early in the morning, and is performed in the office under local anesthesia. Mohs begins with the excision of cancerous tissue, which is then prepared for examination. The edge of cancerous tissue is marked with different colored inks, and a map of the specimen is drawn. Should the physician need to retrieve additional tissue from the patient, this map prevents the removal of normal, uninvolved tissue. The sample is then prepared by a technician, and slides are made for examination under a microscope by the physician. Any additional tissues positive for cancer are removed and examined under the microscope. Depending on the extent of the cancer, several layers may be removed during the procedure. Each layer takes about 45 minutes to prepare and process. Once clear of cancer, the wound is then closed.
Skin cancer affects about 3.3 million Americans a year. While cancer is a frightening and uncertain diagnosis, skin cancer is treatable in its early stages. Mohs surgery is a treatment for skin cancer which involves removing cancerous skin cells while leaving the surrounding skin as intact as possible.
How does Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery work?
Mohs surgery removes thin layers of the skin containing cancerous cells. One by one, your doctor removes the layers then examines them for cancerous cells. When there are no longer cancerous cells in the layers, the surgery is complete. Surgery requires only local anesthetic to numb the area in question and patients may go home afterward without staying in the hospital. Mohs surgery treats some forms of melanoma but focuses mainly on removing squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma.
How is Mohs surgery different than conventional skin cancer removal surgery?
Conventional excision surgery has a reoccurrence rate of about 10%-20% over a five-year period, depending on the location of the cancer. Mohs, however, has only a 1%-5% reoccurrence rate over five years. Additionally, Mohs leaves a significantly larger amount of healthy skin intact around the surgery site than traditional excision surgery. This leaves scarring at a minimum and makes the once-cancerous area less noticeable than conventional surgery.
Interested in Mohs Surgery from Athens Dermatology Group?
Call our Athens, GA office at (706) 769-1550 today!