Skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the country. Numerous treatment options are available, but one treatment rises above the rest in terms of success rate and low risk.
Dr. Frederic Mohs created Mohs Micrographic Surgery in the late 1930s. The procedure entered wide use in 1974 and it has been a mainstay of dermatological procedures for the treatment of skin cancer ever since.
The reason is in its blend of simplicity, accuracy, and thoroughness. It used to be standard procedure that the surgeon would haphazardly excise tissue from around the tumor in the hopes of removing all of the cancer cells. In such cases, much healthy tissue was removed and cancer cells were often left behind.
No more. Now, Mohs Surgery (as it is often called) allows the surgeon to maintain and preserve the most healthy tissue possible while assuring a degree of confidence close to 100% that all of the cancer cells have been removed.
How is this possible? Read on and find out.
The Mohs Surgery procedure involves a small team of medical professionals working together on the patient, though only the lead surgeon performs the actual surgery. This lead physician will invariably carry the medical subspecialty that qualifies him or her to perform Mohs Surgery.
In addition to the lead physician, an assisting physician will assist the lead physician in the procedure. The assisting physician is usually a qualified surgeon who is endeavoring to obtain their own subspecialty in the performance of Mohs Surgery.
In addition to these two surgeons, a nurse is also present. The nurse’s role is very important too, since it involves preparing the patient for surgery as well as making sure the patient is comfortable. Since a patient undergoing Mohs Surgery is usually conscious (as opposed to under general anesthetic), this can involve helping to soothe any anxiety or nervousness the patient undergoes during the procedure.
Last on the team, but certainly not least, is the medical technician. The patient may never meet the medical technician, but he or she is absolutely essential to any Mohs Surgery procedure. Why? Let’s learn a little bit about what Mohs Surgery actually involves to find out.
During a Mohs Surgery procedure, the lead physician removes any visible cancer cells (tumors) before taking tissue samples from the area immediately surrounding the tumors. These samples are frozen and transferred to a lab.
At the lab, it is the medical technician’s job to prepare the tissue samples taken from the patient during surgery so that they can be examined under a microscope by the lead physician.
This is what makes Mohs Surgery so innovative and effective. If the lead physician finds cancer cells in the nearby tissue samples, more samples are taken, this time slightly farther out from the center of the cancerous growth. The process is repeated: the samples are placed on microscope slides which are examined by the lead physician.
Once the tissue samples reveal no further cancer cells—usually after no more than cycles—the lead physician is extremely confident that all the cancer cells have been removed.
This high level of certainty, plus extremely low risk and simple recovery due to the smallest surgical wound possible, make Mohs Surgery an obvious choice for skin cancer. Reach out today and learn more if you could benefit from Mohs Surgery.