What to Expect from Mohs Surgery

There’s nothing scarier than being told that you have cancer. Fortunately, when caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable, which is good news since at least 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer before they turn 70.

At Natura Dermatology & Cosmetics, our skin expert, board-certified dermatologist Will Richardson, MD, uses Mohs surgery to treat certain types of nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers. This micrographic surgery remains the gold standard in skin cancer removal since it preserves as much healthy skin tissue as possible.   

If you’re considering Mohs surgery to treat your skin cancer, take a moment to learn more about the procedure and what you can expect!

What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is a specialized, micrographic surgical procedure that allows Dr. Richardson to example the area affected by skin cancer and determine where the cancer ends. 

During the surgery, your provider looks at the areas around the visible skin cancer, called “margins.” This enables him to remove cancerous skin tissues with precision so you retain more of your healthy skin tissue. 

Mohs surgery is used to treat the two most common forms of skin cancer: squamous cell cancer, which affects skin cells located below the outer surface of your skin, and basal cell carcinoma, which affects skin cells below the squamous cell layer.

What can I expect during Mohs surgery? 

Your Mohs surgery takes place in the office and you only need local anesthesia to numb the treatment area. During Mohs surgery, your provider removes cancerous cells in the affected areas of skin one layer at a time, and the entire procedure can usually be completed in one day. 

Dr. Richardson begins by removing any visible skin cancer and a small area around it (the margins). The treatment site is mapped, and the removed tissue sample is examined layer by layer to look closely at any cancer cells. 

If the skin sample being examined contains cancerous cells, Dr. Richardson removes and examines another layer of your skin. He repeats this process until all tissues with skin cancer are removed and only healthy skin remains.

Your provider then dresses the surgical site and provides instructions for recovery. Depending on the extent of your cancer, you may require stitches or you may only need a bandage. 

What are the advantages of Mohs surgery?

The biggest advantage of Mohs surgery is that it’s the most successful method for removing and treating basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. 

In addition, because of the precision used in this micrographic surgery, it leaves as much of your healthy skin tissue intact. This makes it a great tool for treating skin cancer that develops on areas with sensitive or thin skin, including the:

What’s more? Mohs surgery can be completed quickly without the need for an extended recovery, unlike more aggressive types of skin cancer surgery. 

And since thin skin samples rather than thick areas of tissue are needed to check for the presence of cancer, the risk for complications, such as infection and scarring, is low. 

To learn more or to schedule an appointment with our Mohs surgery specialist, call the Fort Lauderdale office of Natura Dermatology & Cosmetic nearest you! You may also book an appointment online now!

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