When you have skin cancer in an awkward or highly visible location, the best treatment is likely Mohs surgery. Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center has offices in Fenton, Chesterfield, and O’Fallon, Missouri, where the highly skilled dermatologists perform advanced Mohs surgery. This technique removes the entire tumor while causing minimal damage to healthy tissue. To find out more, call your nearest Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center office today or book an appointment online.
Mohs surgery is an advanced solution to treating skin cancer. It’s named after Frederic Mohs, MD, the doctor who developed the technique.
Mohs surgery is highly effective for removing skin cancers because it involves checking the tissue thoroughly at each stage. Furthermore, Mohs surgery enables your surgeon to remove less of the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor.
The Mohs procedure involves cutting away thin layers of skin cancer and examining them under a microscope. Your doctor repeats this process until there are clear margins (healthy, cancer-free tissue). Mohs surgery has a success rate of up to 99%.
You might need Mohs surgery if you have skin cancer, of which there are several forms, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and rarer cancers.
After a biopsy, you might not be able to see the skin cancer, but there could still be tumor cells present, and the roots of the tumor can carry on growing. They’re not visible, and unless removed, the tumor can regrow. Mohs surgery removes the cancer roots, minimizing the risk of recurrence.
Not all patients with skin cancer need Mohs surgery. Your doctor at Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center might recommend it if your skin cancer is somewhere you need to use all the time, like your fingers, or when the cancer is somewhere noticeable, like your face.
Mohs surgery can also be an option when other treatments don’t work, you have a particularly large tumor, or regular surgery isn’t as likely to be successful.
The Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center team usually does Mohs surgery when you’re awake. They numb the tumor and surrounding skin, then remove the top of the skin cancer and take it to the on-site laboratory.
The lab technician puts the skin cancer tissue onto microscope slides to examine it for cancer cells. Microscopic examination helps locate cancer that might not be detectable any other way. If your doctor finds more cancer cells, they take another slice off the tumor and examine that. The process could last for several hours in some cases.
Mohs surgery continues until there’s no cancer left. Depending on where it is and its size, the wound might heal on its own or need stitching. Some patients require more complicated reconstructive procedures after Mohs surgery.
To see if you need Mohs surgery, call Missouri Dermatology Laser and Vein Center today or book an appointment online.