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How Does Mohs Surgery Work to Treat Skin Cancer?

How Does Mohs Surgery Work to Treat Skin Cancer?

Did you know that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70?  Did you also know that the leading risk factor for skin cancer is exposure to the sun? Put these two together, and you’ll understand why skin cancer rates in Florida are high — we’ve got ample sun and plenty of people.

The team at  Z-ROC Dermatology certainly understands the connection, which is why we specialize in skin cancer and are one of the few dermatology practices in Southern Florida that offers Mohs surgery.

Heading these efforts is our own Dr. Khongruk Wongkittiroch, a board-certified dermatologist fellowship-trained in Mohs microsurgery, an innovative skin cancer treatment focusing on skin preservation in cosmetically sensitive areas.

Here’s how it works.

Getting rid of cancer

No matter what type of cancer, often the first step is to get rid of the identified cancerous cells, growths, or tumors through excision, which means removing the cancer.

Since cancer can spread, most medical providers like to build in some good margins in these efforts by clearing away the cancer and neighboring tissues that might have been affected. When it comes to skin cancer, this approach means removing the cancer and the skin in the surrounding area as a measure of caution.

While effective, this approach can lead to scarring, which can be cosmetically significant in certain areas. And that’s where Mohs surgery comes in.

Layer by layer with Mohs

If we’ve diagnosed you with skin cancer and it’s in an accessible area, we can turn to Mohs surgery, which is a thorough, tissue-sparing technique that minimizes collateral tissue damage.

During your Mohs surgery, Dr. Wongkittiroch removes the cancer one thin layer at a time. Once she removes the first layer, she views the tissue sample under a microscope and looks for abnormal or cancerous cells. 

If she spots cancerous cells, she removes another layer and repeats the investigative process. With each layer, Dr. Wongkittiroch creates a map of the cancer to guide her as she moves forward.

This targeted and systematic approach allows Dr. Wongkittiroch to remove only what’s necessary while preserving the surrounding skin and minimizing scarring.

Not only is Mohs an excellent cosmetic option, but this procedure works well for people who might be immunocompromised since we don’t make large incisions.

Benefits of Mohs surgery

We’ve been alluding to the fact that Mohs surgery is effective, and we want to quantify this — Mohs delivers success rates of up to 99% in clearing away skin cancer.

Not only is Mohs surgery effective, it has other benefits, such as:

The only thing you need to supply is patience as Dr. Wongkittiroch works her way through removing your cancer, one layer at a time.

If you’d like to explore whether you’re a good candidate for Mohs surgery to treat your skin cancer, please contact our Fort Lauderdale, Florida, office to schedule a consultation.

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