“What is Mohs skin cancer surgery?”
As a dermatology practice in the Flower Mound, TX area, we believe it’s important to teach our patients about the importance of proper skin protection. Using sunblock and minimizing sun exposure is the best way to prevent skin cancers from occurring. As skin cancer begins to affect more and more people, we see the urgency to educate individuals on prevention. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and in many cases, it can be incredibly dangerous. If skin cancer is discovered, it is crucial to seek treatment before the cancer grows or spreads. At the Center for Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Surgery, Mohs Surgery is one of the ways that we remove many cancerous lesions.
Understanding skin cancer treatment
For most methods of skin cancer surgery, the doctor will remove any visible areas of the cancerous lesion along with a margin of healthy tissue around it to ensure that any outlying cancer cells are removed. Once the cancerous tissue and margins are removed, the site is stitched up and the cells are sent to a laboratory for microscopic examination. If it is determined that there are cancerous cells close to the edge of the healthy margins, the patient will have a second procedure to remove additional tissue.
The Mohs difference
Mohs micrographic surgery is a method of skin cancer removal that is more precise than traditional excisions and is highly effective at removing cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. During a Mohs procedure, the doctor will remove the skin cancer in thin layers, examining each layer under a microscope before taking additional layers. This allows the doctor to remove all the cancer during a single treatment while minimizing scarring or disfigurement from removing extra tissue.
Mohs surgery can be used on both basal and squamous cell carcinomas, as well as certain instances of melanoma. At the Center for Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Surgery, we may recommend Mohs in many of the following situations:
- Recurrent cancers in areas that have already had skin cancer surgery
- Cancers that occur in highly visible areas, including the face, neck, or hands.
- Cancers with irregular borders
- Aggressive, rapidly progressing cancer
How to prepare for Mohs surgery
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure that is performed in our Plano, TX office. Patients will be asked about any medications they are currently taking prior to the procedure. Some medications can increase the risk of bleeding or impede the healing process. If you are on one of these medications, we will work with you and your prescribing physician prior to receiving Mohs treatment.
On the day of the treatment, patients should expect to be in the office a couple of hours This is because every time tissue is removed, the margins are examined in order to see if they are clear. While some lesions can be removed in just a few hours, there are certain cases that could take longer. Patients should plan on resting for the remainder of the day after Mohs and taking it easy activity wise.
Make sure to wear loose, comfortable clothes to allow access to the location of the cancer. We recommend bringing a book or a tablet on the day of the procedure, as there are periods of downtime while the cells are being evaluated in the lab.
The Mohs Procedure
Prior to beginning the Mohs surgery, we will clean the treatment area, administer local anesthetic, and mark the borders of the cancer. Once the area is numb, the doctor will remove the entire visible area of the cancer along with a thin layer of tissue. This excised tissue is then examined underneath a microscope to look for the presence of cancer cells. If no additional cancer cells are found, the wound will be closed, and the procedure is over. If cancer cells are found, the doctor will identify where they are located and mark an additional area to remove. This process repeats until there is no presence of cancer cells in the removed tissue.
There are many benefits to Mohs surgery, one of the biggest ones being that patients know the results right away and will not have to return to the office on another day for a follow-up procedure. Another one is that the procedure only removes the amount of tissue necessary to eliminate the cancer, and this tissue sparing is important for the face.
For more information on Mohs skin cancer surgery for skin cancers found at our Flower Mound, TX office please call us at 972-985-9003.Back to Mohs Page