If you have recently received a skin cancer diagnosis, you may be wondering more about the surgical options available to you. Those with certain types of skin cancer -- namely, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas -- may have heard about a certain type of surgery called Mohs. This procedure aims to remove as much of the cancer as possible while preserving the healthy tissue around it, a technique that can drastically reduce the risk of needing treatments or other surgery in the future. In today's post, we'll learn a bit more about Mohs procedures and whether this is an option you or someone you know may want to explore.
What exactly is Mohs surgery?
Named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, who developed this surgical technique in the 1930s, it's one of the most effective ways to remove the two most common types of skin cancer. While this procedure has been refined since it was first developed, countless surgeons still rely on this principle to remove cancer from their patients.
What types of cancer can be removed with a Mohs procedure?
Typically, skin doctors use this technique on patients with basal cell carcinoma (known as BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (known as SCC). However, Mohs surgery can be used to treat other kinds of skin cancers in certain situations. This procedure is often a good option if a patient's skin cancer is likely to recur or has returned after previous treatments; if the affected area is large or the cancer spreads quickly; the growth has uneven edges; or it's located in an area that requires as much healthy tissue preservation as possible.
What are the advantages to this type of surgery?
First and foremost, this type of procedure has an extremely high success rate. In fact, Mohs has a 98% to 99% success rate in curing skin cancer. While no treatment comes with a guarantee, it's an option that's proven to be immensely effective over and over again. In addition, the fact that this technique allows a patient to keep as much healthy tissue as possible is a huge advantage -- not only for appearances but also for function, especially in difficult areas that don't have a lot of room for tissue loss. It's also a method that can help when other techniques have failed while providing procedural site repair on the same day the cancer is actually removed, in many cases.
How long does this procedure take?
Typically, this procedure will last several hours, but every case is different. Patients should plan on spending the entire morning at our office. Following the removal of your skin cancer, you can expect to have the wound closed with sutures. You will get to return home the same day and do not need to stay in the hospital or any other facility. Your skin care specialist will go over the particulars of your case with you prior to performing your procedure to let you know what you can expect.
What happens after the surgery?
In most cases, you will be able to drive yourself home following your procedure. If your surgeon feels you will need a driver, you will be informed of this before your visit. You may experience redness, swelling, bleeding, and general discomfort following the procedure, but these symptoms will not last long. You may also have sutures in this area. Your skin doctor will go over post-surgical care instructions with you prior to the day. You will likely need to schedule a follow-up visit with your skin care specialist to assess the results and see your doctor on a regular basis to ensure you're healthy.
A cancer diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming, but you should know that you are not alone and that you have many medical options at your disposal. To find out more about why we are the dermatology specialists for Mohs surgery Panama City FL residents depend on, contact us today.