What is Mohs micrographic surgery?

Although medical science is continually generating new and exciting skin cancer treatments, Mohs micrographic surgery, first developed in the 1930s by Wisconsin physician Frederic Mohs, remains one of the most effective and successful approaches of all time for eradicating Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell carcinoma. Melanoma is not typically addressed by Mohs surgery, although recent improvements to the technique are gradually making this possible as well.

Who is a good candidate for the procedure?

While the vast majority of skin cancer patients are good candidates for Mohs micrographic surgery, the technique is especially useful in situations where preservation of healthy skin tissue is integral to the appearance or function of the area affected. Examples of critical areas best approached through Mohs surgery include the nose, ears, eyelids, face, hands, feet and genitals.

Mohs microsurgery is also suggested in treating…

  • skin cancers where scar tissue is present
  • skin cancers that do not present with clear, definable growths
  • skin cancers displaying unique growth patterns
  • skin cancers that are unduly massive
  • skin cancers that have recurred

What are the benefits of Mohs microsurgery as a skin cancer treatment option?

  • 96% cure rate on average
  • Minimal scarring
  • Maximum healthy skin tissue preserved
  • More precise than excision surgery
  • Ideal for treating complex skin cancers
  • Does not require general anesthesia
  • Virtually painless

How does it work?

Charlotte NC Mohs surgery patients receive local anesthesia, which numbs the treatment area. This aids in a faster recovery with less resulting discomfort normally associated with general anesthesia. The surgery normally takes between 2 and 4 hours, depending on the extent of the tumors.

During this exacting procedure, thin layers of skin are removed one by one and inspected with a microscope to determine if carcinomas are present. Cancerous cells are mapped, color coded and excised while the healthy surrounding tissue is spared. This process continues until a cancer-free layer is found, at which point the surgery is completed. The wounds are then sutured, reconstructed, or left to heal naturally.

Mohs surgery tends to be a group effort, employing the talents not only of Mohs surgeons, but also dermatologists, plastic surgeons, oral surgeons, otolaryngologists, and ophthalmologists. In this way, the patient’s condition is approached from every angle, ensuring the most comprehensive care and recovery possible during their skin cancer treatment in Charlotte.

To learn more about the process, please enjoy this informative video:

Recovery

Although most of our Charlotte NC Mohs reconstruction patients experience little pain during or after the procedure, the occasional headache is to be expected and can be easily treated with an ice pack or a few Tylenol. Redness at the treatment site is also very normal. If your surgery was near the eyes, you may experience swelling and/or bruising, which again are best addressed through the use of a cold compress or ice pack.

Follow-up with Mohs surgery is important. Your doctor will schedule regular appointments to ensure recovery is proceeding without issue. Because skin cancer has a high rate of recurrence in general, it is advised that you continue to receive comprehensive screening from your dermatologist at least once a year.