If you have recently been diagnosed with skin cancer, including basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, you are likely facing a treatment option using Mohs surgery. Skin cancer is never good news. However, the high success rate of the state-of-the-art Mohs technique can provide relief for concerned skin cancer patients. Mohs surgery is reported to be up to 99% effective, even on cancers that have previously been treated unsuccessfully. Dr. David Olansky of Olansky Dermatology Associates is an experienced Mohs micrographic surgeon who has been performing successful Mohs surgery for over thirty years.
Now that you feel confident in your skin cancer treatment option, here is what you can expect during your Mohs surgery procedure:
Mohs surgery involves a thorough examination of the cancerous tumor with minimal loss of healthy tissue. Mohs procedure removes skin cancer in stages. During the first stage, your surgeon will use a local anesthetic and remove only the visible tumor in just a few minutes time. The next stage involves you comfortably waiting while the surgeon analyzes the removed tissue in the laboratory. Your tissue sample will be carefully cut into sections and examined under a microscope. Your surgeon will keep track of the precise spot where each piece of tissue was removed so that if an area of skin cancer is found on one piece of tissue, the surgeon knows exactly where to continue with the next stage of surgery. Throughout the stages of tissue removal, the process remains very exact and careful so that only affected skin is removed and your healthy tissue remains. The process is repeated until the last tissue sample removed is cancer-free. Your surgeon will re-administer local anesthetic as necessary so that you will not feel any pain during the Mohs procedure.
Post Mohs Surgery
Once the skin cancer is completely excised, your surgeon will repair the treated area using stitches, a skin flap or graft or the wound may be allowed to naturally heal. Your repair method and healing time will depend on the location of your skin cancer and how extensive your skin cancer removal procedure was. Remember that most wounds develop inflammation. This is normal and will appear as a small red halo of redness. Patients may also notice that the treated skin area is tighter or numb. Both of these should diminish over time.
One of the most important takeaways from skin cancer treatment is early detection. Catching skin cancer at its earliest stages dramatically increases your cure rate. In addition, remember that skin cancer patients have a 50% chance of developing it again. Therefore, go ahead and book your annual full-body skin exam appointment now.