With summer upon us, it is crucial to make sure you’re protecting your skin. Skin cancer is the most common cancer, and while it is treatable, it is best to prevent it from developing in the first place. However, our Miami dermatologists offer Mohs surgery, effective treatment for skin cancer if you develop this condition.
What’s Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is a precision surgical technique utilized to treat skin cancer. The process involves removing the layers of cancer-containing skin in localized areas until only noncancerous tissue remains. Mohs uses a precise method to remove cancerous tissue while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy skin.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is considered the “gold standard” treatment for skin cancer primarily due to an outstanding 98 percent cure rate. Dermatologists trained in Mohs surgery can strategically target and remove skin cancer with specialized mapping techniques to extract cancerous tissue from each skin layer individually while analyzing the entire peripheral and deep margin of tissue. This helps them to ensure all the tumor is removed.
Thus, Mohs surgery serves as a tissue-sparing technique that can offer the highest cure rate for many different skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Dermatologists in Miami rely on Mohs to treat the most common skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, in addition to some types of melanoma and other unusual skin cancers.
What Does Mohs Surgery Treat?
The procedure remains particularly useful for skin cancers that:
- Are located in areas where a patient wants to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. This might include the ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, feet, or genitals.
- Exhibit a high risk to reoccur or previously recurred after treatment.
- Are large or aggressive
- Have borders that are difficult to define
Benefits of Mohs Surgery
Choosing Mohs surgery over other forms of skin cancer treatments includes several benefits, including:
The Mohs treatment helps the preservation of healthy skin while removing only the cancer itself. Dermatologists will use the smallest incision possible to help minimize potential scarring or damage to surrounding tissue.
Mohs helps patients avoid ongoing hospital stays and larger medical expenses that accompany them. Dermatologists will perform the procedure on-site instead of in the hospital, alleviating prolonged hospital stays and lowering overall cost.
High Cure Rate
Mohs provides a 98% cure rate for the two most common skin cancers compared to topical approaches or light therapy.
General anesthesia remains associated with more risks than local anesthesia. Specialists utilize local anesthesia for the Mohs Surgery procedure to ensure that the procedure is as safe as possible, as well as more comfortable for patients.
Recovering from Mohs Surgery
Once your dermatologist has surgically removed the skin cancer, there will be an open wound. There are two main healing pathways:
- Allow the wound to heal on its own. This is appropriate if the wound is extremely small or in a location where a scar is cosmetically acceptable. You must take care of the wound daily. Depending on the size of the wound, healing may take up to 4 to 6 weeks. Fortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll suffer from an infection or complication throughout the healing process, but you must follow the wound care directions your dermatologist provides you.
- Close the wound with sutures (stitches). This option is excellent for surgeries where scarring must be kept to a minimum or when the natural healing process would be inadequate for a larger wound. Most reconstructive surgery can be performed on the same day as your Mohs surgery.
Your dermatologist may close the wound by shifting nearby tissue or taking skin from another area of your body (often in front of or behind the ear, or from the neck, collarbone region, or thigh). Skin grafts may require a “bolster” dressing—a special bandage sutured over the area. This dressing remains over the graft for about a week or until sutures can be removed.
Expect minimal discomfort after Mohs surgery. Any pain you experience can usually be taken care of with acetaminophen products, such as Tylenol. If you experience any significant pain, immediately contact your doctor. You may experience some localized swelling and bruising, which may not be at its worst until three to four days after surgery. This is entirely normal and should improve within a week.
In addition, you may experience some swelling on your eyelids if you have surgery on your forehead or nose. Similarly, swelling and bruising may occur down the neck, and rarely the chest, when surgery is performed on the chin or jawline area. To help reduce swelling and bruising, apply an ice pack for 20 minutes each hour while awake for the first 48 hours following your Mohs surgery.
Mohs Surgical Procedure | Miami Center for Dermatology
Mohs surgery offers patients outstanding success rates for patients facing skin cancer. Dr. Deborah Longwill and her team from the Miami Center for Dermatology commit to ensuring their patients understand all their skin cancer treatment options. Specifically, Dr. Joshua D. Fox from our staff is a certified Mohs surgeon.
To learn more about Mohs Micrographic Surgery, reach out to our dedicated staff today!