Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Mohs surgery is widely used for many common and aggressive skin tumors and is best used to remove the skin cancer with the least amount of tissue removal necessary in order to spare tissue for the cosmetic repair. The best advantage of Mohs surgery is that the clearance rate for skin cancer removal is over 99% in qualified hands. This high clearance rate is solely due to the immediate microscopic examination of the removed tissue and the ability to evaluate 100% of the margins via the Mohs removal technique.
It involves removing a skin cancer one layer at a time and examining these layers under a microscope immediately after they are removed. This procedure allows for a close examination of each layer of skin to detect cancer cells. It also allows a minimal amount of tissue to be removed while ensuring complete removal of all the cancer cells.
A local anesthetic is injected into the skin before the surgery. Your doctor then begins to remove the skin cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue, one layer of skin at a time. Each tissue layer is inked, prepared, and examined under the microscope for cancer cells. Surgery is complete when no more cancer cells are detected.
Mohs micrographic surgery may be used for removal of skin cancer that:
- Is likely to return. Mohs micrographic surgery is more effective in obtaining cancer-free margins for cancers that have irregular borders and a history of removal and recurrence.
- Is located in visible areas or areas where skin tissue should be preserved, such as on the ears, nose, or eyelids.
- Is growing quickly.
- Has a high risk of spreading to other parts of the body, such as in some squamous cell carcinomas.
- Occurs in children.
How Well Does Mohs Surgery Work?
Mohs micrographic surgery can be an effective treatment for skin cancer. This technique preserves as much nearby healthy skin as possible. Treatment with Mohs surgery offers the highest rates of cure for patients with Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Mohs surgery is also advised for certain skin cancers when the highest cure rate is needed while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. Compared to standard excision treatments, recurrence is less after Mohs micrographic surgery. The cure rate for Mohs Surgery is estimated to be anywhere from 97-99%.
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