Mohs surgery is a specialized technique for treating skin cancer. The Mohs procedure differs from conventional skin cancer surgery in several remarkable ways that result in its exceptional cure rate and minimal scarring.
During a Mohs procedure, your Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah provider:
After removing the tumor, your provider evaluates the tissues under a microscope while you wait. They check the margins (edges) of the tissue to see if they contain cancer cells.
Clear margins mean that all the cancer is gone, but if they find cancer cells, they can remove another thin section of skin right away because you’re still there.
In conventional skin cancer surgery, they send the removed tumor and the surrounding skin to a lab for evaluation. Then you wait days to get the results.
Methodically removing small pieces of skin and examining each under the microscope allows your provider at Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah to eliminate all the cancer while cutting away the least amount of skin. As a result, Mohs surgery preserves as much of your healthy skin as possible.
Mohs surgery treats the three primary skin cancer types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah also recommends Mohs surgery for:
This type of surgery is the preferred treatment for skin cancers in visible areas like the face.
Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah performs Mohs surgery as an outpatient procedure using a local anesthetic. Though you go home the same day, you need to stay in the office until the team removes all the cancer.
Given the precise nature of the procedure, there’s no way to predict how long it takes. For most people, Mohs surgery takes 3-4 hours. For others, it could last longer.
Your provider removes the visible portion of the tumor. Then they remove the margins, taking a thin layer of skin from under and around the tumor site. As they remove this layer, they divide it into sections, color code, and map it.
Then they examine the tissue sections. If your provider finds even one cancer cell, their mapping allows them to match that one piece to the exact location on your body where they removed it. Then they can remove another small, thin section of skin from that spot.
Without mapping, your provider would need to remove another full layer of tissue from the entire area underneath the tumor, taking away healthy skin rather than preserving it.
This precise process of removing and evaluating one small section of tissue at a time continues until all signs of cancer are gone.
To learn more about Mohs surgery, call Dermatology and Aesthetics Center of Utah, or request an appointment online today.