A cancer diagnosis, in any form, can be a scary moment. Fortunately, for many with the most common forms of skin cancer, treatment can often be done outpatient and without significant side effects via Mohs micrographic surgery. The Mohs procedure (named for the doctor who developed the procedure in the 1930s) offers the highest cure rate for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers, even if a cancer has come back after previous treatment. In fact, Mohs surgery cures 99 percent of new cancers and 95 percent of recurrent cancers.
Because the roots of a skin cancer may extend beyond the visible portion of the tumor, the roots need to be removed to prevent recurrence.
Mohs Surgery is effective because it removes the diseased area in stages, layer by layer, and the tissue is examined by a Mohs-trained surgeon along the way. This type of treatment helps the physician determine if the tumor is completely removed after the surgery has been performed.
The surgeon removes the visible portion of the tumor using careful surgical techniques.
The 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.
Once the cancer has been removed, the surgeon repairs the wound using reconstructive procedures.
Local anesthesia permits faster patient recovery and a lower risk of complications, especially for older patients.
Call Windsor Dermatology today to schedule your consultation.