Mohs Micrographic Surgery to Treat Skin Cancer
Mohs micrographic surgery is used for the removal of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell cancers. This procedure offers the highest possible cure rate – up to 99% for most primary skin cancers and just slightly lower for recurrent cancers – while minimizing the loss of normal tissue. This innovative treatment is only performed by highly specialized physicians. At Franciscan Health, your skin cancer surgeon will act as your surgeon, pathologist, and in many cases, reconstructive surgeon.
More about skin cancer surgery
During Mohs skin cancer surgery, the area surrounding the skin cancer will be cleansed with an anti-bacterial soap. The doctor will then anesthetize (numb) the area of skin containing the cancer by a small local injection. This injection will probably be similar to the one you received for your biopsy. It usually takes 15 minutes to anesthetize the area and remove the tissue. After the tissue has been removed, it will be processed in our office laboratory.
Your surgical wound will likely require care during the weeks following surgery. Bruising and swelling, for up to a week, is common after surgery. Detailed written instructions will be provided. Plan to return to our office in five to seven days. You also should plan on wearing a bandage and avoiding strenuous physical activity for a week.
A follow-up period of observation is necessary after the wound has healed. You may be asked to return to ensure proper healing. Studies have shown that once you develop skin cancer, there is a strong possibility of developing other skin cancers in the future. Should you notice any suspicious areas, it is best to check with your dermatologist for a complete evaluation. You will be reminded to return to your dermatologist on a frequent basis for continued surveillance of your skin.
Skin cancer reconstruction surgery
Depending on the size of the tissue mass removed, skin cancer reconstructive surgery may be necessary to prevent deformity. Our surgeons who perform Mohs micrographic surgery are trained extensively in skin cancer reconstructive surgery, which in many cases allows for the entire removal and reconstruction process to be completed at once. This shortens overall recovery time and eliminates the inconvenience and discomfort of multiple procedures.