Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mohs Surgery vs. Traditional Skin Cancer Surgery

Mohs micrographic surgery offers an alternative treatment for skin cancer that is particularly effective at removing skin lesions. Microscopic control gives dermatologists a higher degree of precision, allowing them to remove multiple layers of cancer with a clear view of the borders. Each layer is carefully mapped with a special dye that the Mohs surgeon uses to pinpoint the exact location of the cancer.

The Advantages of Mohs Surgery

Complete mapping and examination of the margins of the cancer are what make Mohs surgery so effective. With tradition surgical procedures, there is more guesswork, which means there is also a greater chance of leaving cancer cells behind. If any cancer cells are left behind, there is the risk that the cancer will regrow.

Because of the microscopic nature of Mohs surgery, it is easier to tell if all of the cancerous area has been removed. The surgeon is also able to examine tissue layers without having to re-excise the entire area. And because of the microscopic examination of the margins, the surgeon is better able to remove only the cancerous areas, preserving as much normal, healthy skin as possible.

Mohs surgery can usually be performed within several hours, and if there is an onsite lab, examination of the tissue can take place at the same location. While a sample of tissue is being examined, the patient’s wound is temporarily dressed. Once lab results are obtained, the surgery can proceed. Of course, after surgery, periodic visits to the dermatologist are recommended in order to track progress and identify any possible recurrences of cancer as soon as possible.

A dermatologist who performs Mohs surgery has at least one year of additional training, so they are experts in all aspects of this technique. The precision of Mohs surgery has given it a cure rate of 99 percent for most types of skin cancer. This is quite a bit higher than traditional cancer removal techniques.  

The higher success rate involved in Mohs surgery means fewer procedures down the road, which saves the patient a lot of time in the long run. By removing more of the cancer cells and preserving more of the patient’s natural skin, Mohs surgery will give the patient a better long term result in treating and eliminating skin cancer.

At Coastal Skin Surgery and Dermatology, our fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon – Dr. David Adams – has completed extensive training in order to bring this treatment to skin cancer patients who visit our dermatology clinic.  For more information about skin cancer surgery, call our office for your dermatology consultation. 

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