Mohs surgery, also called Mohs micrographic surgery, is an effective and surprisingly old technique for treating skin cancer. It was developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs back in the 1930s. It has long been used to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are the two most common forms of skin cancer. Doctors are increasingly using it to treat melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Mohs surgery is often recommended for skin cancers that have not responded to other treatments or are large, fast-growing, and aggressive.
How Does the Surgery Work?
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure, and the patient will usually need only a local anesthetic to keep them comfortable. The surgeon will then remove the visible part of the cancer, plus a margin of seemingly healthy tissue. They will take the tissue to an on-site laboratory and carefully slice the tissue into thin pieces that they will then examine under a microscope to look for cancer cells in the border. If they don’t find any, the patient can go home.
If the doctor does find cancer cells, however, they will return to the patient and remove more tissue. They will then examine that for cancer cells. They will repeat the process until they have samples that don’t contain any cancer cells.
The Many Benefits of Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery provides a number of benefits. First off, it boasts an impressive cure rate. About 99 percent of patients who underwent Mohs surgery for first-time skin cancers were still cancer-free five years later. About 95 percent of patients who had been treated for recurring cancers were also free of cancer five years later.
The precision of Mohs surgery is another benefit. The surgeon will typically remove less tissue during a Mohs procedure than during a conventional excision. They will, thus, leave the patient with a smaller healing area. Mohs surgery is, therefore, often recommended for cosmetically important areas like the face.
Another advantage is that the surgeon takes care of everything in a single visit. They will remove the growth and analyze it during the patient’s visit. The patient can go home knowing their cancer has been dealt with.
Mohs surgeons are highly trained medical professionals who take care of all of their patients’ needs. In addition to removing the growth and analyzing it, they can also perform whatever reconstructive procedure the patient may need.
Reach out to us at Dermatology Center of the Rockies to learn more about Mohs surgery and whether or not it is necessary in your case. We have offices located in Longmont and Estes Park. Contact us today to book an appointment!