The Mohs technique is a specialized way of removing skin cancer on the face, where the least amount of non-cancerous tissue is excised, while removing all of the microscopic cancer cells. Also known as chemosurgery, the procedure is performed by detailed mapping and onsite microscopic exam of the removed skin. The defect is immediately reconstructed to provide a most aesthetic outcome. Mohs surgery allows for a 95% cure rate and is the procedure of choice for many people who suffer from skin cancer. Most cancers are treatable if caught early. Regular skin exams, minimizing sun exposure and always wearing sunscreen are the best prevention. The Mohs surgical technique has proven to be the most effective method of treating certain types of skin cancer, and is a surgical treatment option we offer in our NYC offices.
Treating Skin Cancer
There are two principal types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, which affects the outermost layer of skin, and basal cell carcinoma, which affects the deepest regions of the outer layer.
Basal cell carcinoma usually does not spread beyond the original malignancy, but cancer in the squamous cells can be deadly if not removed. Mohs surgery is suited for treating both types. Its advantages include the following:
- Virtually eliminates the chance of a recurrence
- Allows for an immediate diagnosis of the condition
- Minimizes the effects on surrounding tissue
- Makes for easier repair of the treated site
In additional to the medical advantages, the procedure is cost-effective because it virtually eliminates the need for subsequent procedures.
Understanding Mohs Surgery
This method involves the removal of layers of skin from the affected area. The removed skin is then examined through a microscope by a surgeon who is trained in reading the results. The malignant cells are removed until the skin cancer surgeon reaches the area that is not affected, known as the clear margin. The malignancy is thus "mapped" for treatment, causing minimal affects to the surrounding area. Mohs surgery allows for a success rate of nearly 100 percent, with an equally high chance that the cancer will remain in remission. Our office utilizes Mohs surgery as an effective treatment method of skin cancer, among other procedures.
What to Expect from Your Skin Cancer Surgery
The procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis and only requires the use of a local anesthetic. The actual removal is done with a scalpel, with the patient waiting until each microscopic examination is completed. Depending upon the size and depth of the cancer, the surgery can normally be completed in a few hours. Once all of the malignant cells are gone, the area is repaired.
Mohs surgery eliminates the need for the removal of large areas of skin, concentrating instead on the removal of only one to three layers. This makes for a more pleasing cosmetic outcome and also makes the procedure especially beneficial in dealing with skin cancer on the face.