What is Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery?
Skin Cancer Care Specialists | November 11, 2016
When you or someone you love has skin cancer, one of the most specialized and effective treatment techniques is Mohs Surgery. First created in the early 1940s by Dr. Frederic Mohs of the University of Wisconsin, Mohs Surgery is a treatment designed to completely remove an occurrence of skin cancer. It works best in situations where the cancer is large, cannot be defined easily, returns after being treated and/or affects a sensitive area (like the face) where it’s important to spare as much normal skin as possible. Through its microscopic tumor detection and very selective removal of the area, it offers the highest probability of complete cancer removal while also preserving surrounding tissues.
How Mohs Surgery Works
Used to totally remove tumors, minimize surgical wound size and optimize aesthetics of surgical reconstruction due to skin cancer, a Mohs Micrographic Surgery involves, essentially, two major steps:
- Surgical Removal. The first step involves surgically excising a thin layer of tissue that’s about 1-2 mm larger than the clinical tumor.
- Tissue Processing. After being removed, the tissue gets processed and examined microscopically to determine if there is any tumor present. If a tumor is found, more tissue is removed, the examination is repeated, etc., until no tumor is detected.
What to Know before Surgery
When you meet with Dr. Weisberg in a pre-operative consultation for Mohs Surgery, he will evaluate your medical history, location of your tumor, etc.
Before surgery, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Shower/Bathe the Night beforehand. You’ll want to wash your hair the night before surgery, as you may need to keep your wound/dressing dry for 48 hours or longer after your procedure.
- Sleep. Get a good night’s rest the night before your surgery.
- Eat Breakfast. Go ahead and eat a normal breakfast unless you’ve been instructed otherwise.
- Take Medications. Whatever normal medications you take, you’ll likely still take them before your Mohs Surgery. Unless you receive different instructions at your consultation, you can go ahead and keep taking them.
On the day of your surgery, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. If your operative area will be on your face, don’t wear makeup.
What to Know after Surgery
In the weeks after surgery, your wound will need care, so you’ll get detailed written instruction on what to keep in mind. You can expect to wear a bandage, have some swelling and bruising for the first few days and need to avoid strenuous activity. One to four weeks after surgery, your stitches will be removed. You may have some minimal pain, a sensation of tightness, itchiness or numbness in the treated area.
Are you interested in learning more about Mohs Surgery and if Mohs surgery is the right treatment option for you? Set up a consultation with our office today!