Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a dermatological procedure with a 99% success rate against the most common skin cancers. 3 Million Americans a year are diagnosed with skin cancer and Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a potent weapon in our fight against it.
Dr. Frederic Mohs knew we needed a stronger defense against skin surgery back in the late 1930s. At that time, surgeons were removing too much healthy tissue and too often being incorrect in their assumptions that all cancer cells had been removed.
So he developed the surgery technique that now bears his name.
But what is Mohs Surgery, as it is now known? How is it different from other surgeries of the past?
Mohs Surgery does not rely on wholesale tissue removal from around the cancer site, nor on the assumptions of a surgeon (even a well-qualified one). Rather, it involves a precise removal of just enough tissue to be able to ascertain whether there are any remaining cancer cells in the tissue immediately surrounding the initial tumor site.
This tissue is examined under a microscope by none other than the surgeon himself or herself. If any cancer cells are found, a tiny bit more tissue is removed and examined in the same way.
Only when no cancer cells are visible will the surgeon close the patient up. It is important to remember that no surgeon can be 100% certain that cancer will never return, but this process as Dr Mohs designed it provides the highest possible degree of certainty while removing the smallest amount of healthy tissue.
The procedure is usually completed in one day, but two-day Mohs Surgeries have been known to happen. This added time, however, only adds to the certainty with which the surgeon can say, “We got it all out!”
Because so little tissue is taken, the surgical wound is usually very small. Scarring is kept to a minimum and stitches are used to close the wound only if absolutely necessary. Some pain might be present, for which the patient is recommended to take tylenol and avoid anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, as these can contribute to bleeding difficulties after a surgery.
Any surgeon performing a Mohs Surgery procedure must hold the Mohs Surgery medical subspecialty as awarded solely by the American College of Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Cutaneous Oncology. When your medical professional has this subspecialty, you know that your Mohs Surgery procedure is being performed by a qualified professional.
Mohs Surgery is one reason that skin cancer is among the most successfully treated cancers in the United States. Call us today to learn more about becoming another success story.