If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, getting the most effective treatment is a top priority. And for that, Mohs surgery may be your best bet. This precise and thorough procedure is highly successful and, with special care taken during closure, is unlikely to cause significant scarring.
At our offices in Scarsdale and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York, board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon Robert M. Schwarcz, MD, performs the Mohs closure procedure to create the most visually appealing outcome. Here’s a closer look at how Mohs surgery works to remove your skin cancer.
Skin cancer basics
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, affecting one in five adults by age 70. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common, and melanoma is the most lethal. Thankfully, even the most serious skin cancers can usually be effectively treated when detected early.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but your risk is higher if you have light skin and eyes, have spent plentiful time in the sun without UV protection, or have a family history of the disease. A history of sunburns or tanning bed use also increases your risk.
Treatment often involves removing the cancerous cells, which can be performed through a variety of techniques, including freezing, surgical excision, and Mohs surgery.
What to expect from Mohs surgery
Your dermatologist may recommend Mohs surgery if your skin cancer is large, aggressive, or located in a sensitive area, such as your head, neck, or genitals. Mohs surgery may also be ideal if you have a suppressed immune system or have a recurrence of skin cancer after having undergone a different treatment method.
During Mohs surgery, your dermatologist removes affected skin one layer at a time, examining each one with a microscope to check for cancerous cells in the margin. They continue this process until all malignant tissue is completely gone.
Then Dr. Schwarcz closes the area, applying his cosmetic surgery skills to minimize bothersome scarring at the repair site.
You return home with aftercare instructions, which may include applying a topical ointment to reduce your risk of infection. Depending on the specifics of your cancer and the extent of your procedure, your surgical site may continue to heal for up to 12-18 months.
Mohs surgery benefits
Because Mohs surgery is incredibly precise, it brings high success rates of up to 99%. Other cancer removal techniques aren’t as effective, partly because they don’t fully analyze surrounding margins. Given that the Mohs procedure does, it also guards against skin cancer recurrence.
Still, you’ll want to take measures to care for your skin by practicing good hygiene and protecting it from UV rays. Your dermatologist may also recommend routine skin cancer screenings to catch any early signs of additional disease in the future.
To learn more about how Mohs surgery can safely remove skin cancer with minimal scarring, or to schedule your procedure, call one of our offices to book an appointment with Dr. Schwarcz today. You can also request an appointment online.