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Mohs Surgery: An Innovative Treatment for Removing Skin Cancer Cells

Mohs Surgery, Removing Skin Cancer Cells

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with more than 3 million people in the United States receiving the diagnosis each year. While a cancer diagnosis of any kind is never good news, skin cancer has a high cure rate, especially with the advent of innovative techniques like Mohs surgery, which is a procedure that can eliminate the cancer without causing considerable damage to surrounding tissue.

Skin cancer 101

There are three main types of skin cancer:

The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, accounting for approximately 8 of 10 diagnoses. Squamous cell carcinomas account for around 2 of 10 diagnoses and melanoma rounds out the picture in very small numbers.

In most of these cases, the first line of treatment has been to excise the cancer, and this treatment still stands today. But rather than the slash-and-burn approach of removing the cancer, along with a large margin of healthy tissue to ensure that the cancer is fully eradicated, we take a more delicate, tissue-saving approach that’s equally as effective.

Layer by layer

Mohs micrographic surgery is named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, who first invented the technique in the 1930s at the University of Wisconsin. Over the next 50 years, Dr. Mohs and his colleagues refined the technique, aided by modern equipment and science, to afford us an incredible 94%-99% cure rate when it comes to skin cancer.

Mohs microsurgery is designed to spare your surrounding tissue because skin cancer most often develops on sun-exposed areas on your skin, namely your face. Rather than excising the cancerous lesion, along with a margin of perfectly healthy skin (leaving you with considerable scarring), we remove only what’s necessary.

To do this, we remove the affected skin, layer by layer, and put it under a microscope to check for the presence of cancer. By continually reviewing your tissue after removing each layer, we create a precise map of the cancer, which often funnels downward into your skin. This way, instead of boring straight down to remove your cancer, we follow the exact lines of the abnormal growth and remove only what we need to.

This also means that Mohs surgery takes time as we carefully excise the tissue, review it, and then come back and continue to remove the area where cancer cells are present until we reach healthy skin. But your patience is well rewarded when we’re done as we’re able to both remove your skin cancer and minimize your scarring.

If you’d like to explore whether you’re a candidate for Mohs surgery, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Or you can use the online booking button to set up a consultation.

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