MOHS SURGERY 101
Mohs was developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s and over time has evolved into the single most effective technique for removing skin cancer. Through the utilization of pathology and surgery, Mohs is easily the most precise and detailed method of its kind. The reason why Mohs has become the most popular technique in removing skin cancer is simple, it spares the greatest amount of healthy tissue all the while completely removing cancer cells!
WHAT IS THE CURE RATE?
Cure rates for Mohs surgery range in effectiveness depending on the type of cancer and whether or not you have been previously treated. For instance, the cure rate for previously untreated cancers is 99 percent, where as cure rates for previously treated cancers is 80 percent. These cure rates are significantly higher than standard cancer cell removal procedures. Mohs is the most effective method for removing skin cancers with a 95 percent effectiveness rating. Although the cure rate is far better than any other procedure, keep in mind that NO procedure can guarantee that your cancer won’t ever return.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOHS AND TRADITIONAL SURGERY?
Traditional surgical procedures examine a small percentage of the tumor’s margin which increases the likelihood of cancerous cells being missed during the procedure. Mohs surgical procedures examine the entire tumor’s margin thus significantly reducing the likelihood that the skin cancer will reoccur. Mohs is also different from traditional surgery in that the entire examination and removal of skin cancer cells is done during the surgery rather than after! The fact that Mohs is done microscopically, leaves no room for error! The surgeon is able to see a detailed mapping of the cancerous cells and remove them all systematically, all while the patient is waiting.
DO I QUALIFY FOR MOHS?
Mohs surgery is reserved for people with specific conditions and skin cancers. Certain indications for Mohs surgery can be found below:
- Recurrent Basal Cell Carcinomas with high risk of reoccurring or are rapidly growing.
- Metastasizing Squamous Cell Carcinomas of a large size (>2 cm), of a certain depth (>4 mm), or that have a long duration, or are rapidly growing.
Mohs is proven to have been most useful in treating skin cancers that are located in cosmetically sensitive areas such as; the face, nose, ears, and eyelids.
HOW DOES THE PROCEDURE WORK?
Circular shaped layers of tissue are removed and then examined under the microscope for cancerous cells. This is repeated until no cancerous cells can be microscopically found. This allows for the surgeon to remove all of the skin cancer while also sparing as much normal skin tissue as possible. There is no guesswork when it comes to Mohs, only real-life results!
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
Depending on the severity of the skin cancer, the procedure could take several hours. With that in mind, Mohs procedures are scheduled with the understanding that the patient may be spending a large amount of time in the office. Mohs is significantly more labor intensive than traditional surgeries, therefore you can guarantee that you are receiving the best care possible during your appointment.
WHAT IS THE HEALING PROCESS?
The primary goal of Mohs procedure is to remove all cancerous cells present. The secondary goal, however, is to have an optimal cosmetic appearance once the procedure has been completed. Depending on the size of the tumor, the wound site may or may not be larger than expected. The site may be slow to heal or may reopen after closure if you are a smoker or suffer from other health conditions such as; diabetes. Scarring will occur over the wound site as well. With the removal of skin cancer, there is a likelihood that nerves will be involved. If this is you, you may experience numbness around the wound site or a loss of local muscle movement after the procedure. Make sure that you follow the wound care instructions given to you by your surgeon as instructed.
At Lux Dermatology, our Mohs surgeons excel proficiently in removing skin cancer. To schedule your appointment, call (702) 233 – GLOW (4569).