MOHS SKIN CANCER SURGERY & RECONSTRUCTION
preparation for your mohs surgery day
Mohs surgery is done entirely under local anesthesia, very similar to getting a skin biopsy. We encourage patients to not skip any meals before surgery, and to take all their regularly prescribed medications, unless they are explicitly requested not to do so by their surgeon.
after your mohs surgery
Most patients have minimal pain or discomfort after the procedure, and usually require nothing more than Tylenol for pain relief. Showering is generally allowed 24 hours after the procedure. Wound care seldomly requires more than simple application of petroleum jelly to the surgical site. Stitches are typically removed 1-3 weeks after surgery.
benefits of mohs surgery
One of the big advantages of Mohs surgery is that it examines the entire perimeter and leaves nothing to chance. This is very different from regular skin cancer excision, where the tissue is removed, and then sent off to a pathologist for evaluation. Unfortunately, the pathologist only looks at about 1% of the tumor perimeter, and if he/she finds no cancer cells present, assumes that the remaining perimeter is also clean. However, this type of evaluation is not always accurate, and leads to higher rates of cancer recurrence. This is the reason why American Skin Institute doctors use Mohs surgery instead; because it is much more accurate and can cure skin cancer with rates as high as 98%.
how mohs micrographic surgery works
Skin cancer removal using the Mohs surgery technique is done in stages, beginning with the tumor and a minimal amount of surrounding tissue being excised from the skin. Once this initial tissue has been removed, it is sliced into tiny pieces and is reviewed by the surgeon using a microscope to see if any cancer tentacles are present on the perimeter. If any cancer tentacles are still present, then the surgeon will remove more tissue and examine it again. This process will continue until your surgeon is no longer able to see any remaining cancer cells in the removed tissue.
The beauty of the Mohs surgery technique is that it examines the entire three-dimensional perimeter; all of the tissue around and directly underneath the tumor. Further, if cancer is identified in this perimeter, the surgeon knows exactly where to remove more tissue, because your skin will be mapped and marked before the procedure. This means that your surgeon won’t continue to cut around the entire perimeter, but only where cancer tentacles are still present.
reconstruction after surgery
To ensure the smallest possible scar, you American Skin Institute surgeon will carefully close the incision with a variety of techniques after Mohs surgery is complete. Your surgeon will make a detailed examination of the final wound and surrounding tissues and make the closure in a way that minimizes the final scar and speeds up healing times. In many cases, the reconstruction after Mohs surgery is so effective that the site of the surgery is nearly invisible after 12-24 months.
If you’d like to learn more about how American Skin Institute uses Mohs surgery to heal patients, or would like to set up a consultation, please fill out the Contact Form on the right, or give us a call!