If you were recently diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, your dermatologist likely recommended Mohs surgery for treatment. Mohs micrographic surgery is an advanced and highly specialized surgical technique that carries the highest success rate of all skin cancer treatments. In fact, Mohs surgery boasts a five-year cure rate of 99% for new cancers and a 95% cure rate for recurring cancers.
Understanding the incredible precision and specialized method involved in Mohs surgery can explain why this procedure is so successful. First and foremost, Mohs surgery should be performed by a certified Mohs surgeon, which are dermatologists who have performed additional fellowship training to become experts in Mohs micrographic surgery. Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons carry an elite skillset in all aspects of this procedure, including surgical removal of the tumor, pathologic examination of the tissue, and advanced reconstruction techniques of the skin.
Mohs Surgery – Step By Step
The American College of Mohs Surgery describes the step-by-step process of this advanced surgical procedure:
The roots of a skin cancer may extend beyond the visible portion of the tumor. If these roots are not removed, the cancer will recur. A surgery starts with the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS) specialist examining the visible lesion and planning what tissue to remove. The patient then receives local anesthesia, and the Mohs surgery begins.
The surgeon removes the visible portion of the tumor using careful surgical techniques.
The ACMS surgeon next removes a deeper layer of skin and divides it into sections. With the help of technicians, the surgeon then color-codes each of these sections with dyes and makes reference marks on the skin to show the source of the sections. A map of the surgical site is then drawn to track exactly where each small portion of tissue originated.
In a laboratory, the surgeon uses a microscope to examine the undersurface and edges of each section of tissue in search of evidence of remaining cancer.
If the surgeon finds cancer cells under the microscope, he or she marks their location on the “map” and returns to the patient to remove another deeper layer of skin — but only from precisely where the cancer cells originated. This method ensures that the Mohs surgery results in the smallest scar possible.
The removal process stops when there is no longer any evidence of cancer in the surgical site.
Why Mohs is Best for the Patient
The highlighted benefit of Mohs surgery is that it only removes cancerous tissues and preserves a maximum amount of surrounding healthy tissues. This makes it an ideal treatment for skin cancers on delicate areas of the body, such as the face. Furthermore, Mohs is often performed under local anesthesia, which improves recovery for patients.
Reconstruction options are discussed when the surgery is complete, if they are needed. In some cases, patients are referred to another physician or plastic surgeon for wound closure and Mohs surgery reconstruction.
Contact an Experienced Mohs Surgeon in Atlanta
Olansky Dermatology is proud to have Dr. David Olansky at our practice in Atlanta and Roswell as an experienced Mohs micrographic surgeon. He has been performing successful Mohs surgery on our patients for over thirty years. For your added comfort and convenience, we provide Mohs surgery at our office. Call now to schedule your Mohs surgery consultation.