If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, your dermatologist can recommend a number of treatment options. These might include surgical excisions, radiation therapy, cryosurgery, and a number of other techniques. However, Mohs micrographic surgery has become one of the top skin cancer treatments available. Here’s what you need to know about this procedure and its effectiveness.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a skin cancer treatment. During the procedure, a licensed dermatologist removes one thin layer of skin at a time. They repeat this removal until the cancerous tissue is eliminated.
The doctor observes the skin tissue under a microscope to determine how much more skin they need to remove. This treatment generally takes about four hours, but the specific timing depends on the size of the cancer site.
Mohs surgery is considered one of the most effective skin cancer treatments available. One of the main benefits of this surgical technique is that it preserves as much healthy tissue as possible. The doctor is able to see the boundary of the skin cancer, so they can carefully remove the cancerous tissue while protecting the surrounding area. This is especially helpful when the skin cancer is present on thin skin like the eyelid or hand. It also leaves minimal scarring.
Mohs surgery has a high cure rate, eliminating skin cancer in over 98 percent of patients who undergo the treatment. This rate also makes it cost-effective, since patients may not need subsequent treatments following this procedure.
While Mohs surgery is a highly effective procedure, it might not be the best option for every skin cancer patient. Dermatologists often recommend Mohs surgery for patients with basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This is especially true if these types of cancers are aggressive, large, or growing quickly.
It can also be effective for patients with skin cancer on the nose, eyes, scalp, lips, fingers, toes, and genitals. Dermatologists may recommend Mohs for cancers with indistinct borders. The procedure may also be a viable option for patients who have not responded to other types of treatment or are at a high risk for recurrence.
Mohs has been used to treat melanoma, but doctors generally only recommend this procedure for lentigo maligna melanoma. This type of melanoma occurs close to the skin’s surface, so it’s more likely to respond to this treatment than other varieties.
However, if you’ve recently received a skin cancer diagnosis, it’s important to discuss your treatment options with your dermatologist. Each skin cancer case is different, and your doctor will determine whether Mohs surgery is the best option for you.
Patients who are interested in learning more about Mohs micrographic surgery and other skin cancer treatments can reach out to Pacific Dermatology Specialists. Our team is proud to perform Mohs surgery among our many surgical dermatology services. With locations in Carson, CA and the surrounding areas, you can speak to a specialist at an office near you.