Understanding How Mohs Surgery Can Help You

Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the world. In the United States alone, 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer by age 70, and 9,500 people receive a diagnosis each day. 

Fortunately, when detected early, even the deadliest form of skin cancer — melanoma — has a 99% rate of survival for five years.

At Natura Dermatology in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, our board-certified dermatologist, Will Richardson, MD, uses the gold-standard in skin cancer treatment, Mohs surgery. This minimally invasive procedure can remove both melanomas and non-cancerous skin cells. 

Treating skin cancer, one layer at a time

The Mohs surgical method dates to the 1930s when Dr. Frederic Mohs invented the technique. Forty years later, Perry Robins, MD, a New York dermatologist, and others brought it into widespread use. 

This approach involves removing one layer of tissue at a time, examining it under a microscope for signs of cancer, and repeating the process until only healthy cells remain. 

Today, Dr. Richardson uses Mohs surgery to treat skin cancers, even in the most delicate areas. The procedure is particularly useful for cancers with a high risk of returning and those with a large area or uncertain border. 

Since Dr. Richardson performs this surgery in stages and receives onsite lab results immediately, he can monitor exactly how much skin to remove while preserving healthy tissue at the same time.

To perform Mohs surgery, Dr. Richardson:

Once the affected area screens clear of cancer cells, Dr. Richardson closes the wound with stitches.

Why Mohs provides results

Dr. Richardson can treat both high-risk and larger skin cancer sites using Mohs surgery. This approach is also very beneficial for non-melanoma skin cancers, especially two of the most common types, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. 

When treating your skin cancer with Mohs surgery, Dr. Richardson removes your skin cancer with minimal damage to healthy tissue. 

Unlike local excision surgery, which clears all visible cancer plus a margin of healthy tissue, Mohs enables Dr. Richardson to gauge more accurately how much skin to remove. As a result, this approach has a higher success rate and often reduces the need for additional surgeries.

What to expect during your procedure 

Dr. Richardson performs Mohs surgery on an outpatient basis right in our offices. 

To prepare for your procedure, we discuss the supplements or medications you take, such as blood thinners, to determine which you should stop using in the days leading up to and directly following your surgery.

Mohs surgery often takes all day, so wear comfortable clothing for your appointment. You should also bring something to read while waiting for the pathology results.

Rest assured, Dr. Richardson administers local anesthesia, so the entire process is completely painless.

Life after Mohs surgery

Once Dr. Richardson removes all your skin cancer, he stitches the wound closed. Depending on the size of your surgical site, he could also use a skin graft from another part of your body. 

It can take 4-6 weeks for your wound to heal completely, but we provide detailed instructions to guide you through the recovery process.

Even when we successfully treat your skin cancer, you still have to remain vigilant. People who have had skin cancer have higher risks of getting it again compared to those who never had a problem. 

Inform Dr. Richardson if you suspect any other instances of skin cancer down the road, and play it safe by scheduling regular skin checks to identify potential issues as early as possible.

We look forward to helping you overcome skin cancer with Mohs surgery. If you have questions about skin cancer or want to learn more about Mohs surgery, please call our office or book an appointment online today.

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