Mohs Surgery: The Best Treatment Available for Skin Cancer

Apr 20, 2023

Mohs Surgery: The Best Treatment Available for Skin Cancer

Florida ranks high when it comes to skin cancer incidence, with almost one in 10 Floridians receiving a diagnosis at some point in their lives. Getting a skin cancer diagnosis can be a huge source of anxiety and uncertainty, but modern treatments give you a good chance at a cure as long as you detect the cancer in an early stage. 

At Luminary Dermatology in Arcadia and Miami, Florida, our expert team encourages you to visit for skin cancer screenings at least once a year to detect skin cancer early, before it spreads. Our dermatologists specialize in multiple skin cancer treatments but often rely on Mohs surgery to eliminate all of your cancerous cells in a single procedure. 

Mohs surgery isn’t always the best fit, but it has a remarkably high success rate — up to 99% in first-time cases where it applies and 94% for recurrent skin cancers. Here’s what you need to know about the procedure and why it’s an excellent cancer treatment choice. 

The history of Mohs

Mohs surgery dates to the 1930s, when it was created but seldom used. Dr. Frederic E. Mohs developed the technique and initially called it chemosurgery. 

In the 1960s, Dr. Perry Robbins, who studied with Dr. Mohs, brought the technique to New York University and established a specialized dermatology training program for it. The technique then spread far and wide and is now used by dermatologists and plastic surgeons worldwide. 

When Mohs surgery works best

The Luminary Dermatology team recommends skin cancer treatments based on a variety of factors, emphasizing the importance of individualized care. While Mohs surgery may not be the most suitable choice for certain cases of melanoma, it’s a go-to option for most nonmalignant basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. 

It’s a particularly effective treatment for skin cancers that are:

  • Large
  • Aggressive
  • Recurrent
  • Blurred or indistinct
  • In areas with little skin to spare, such as your ears

Mohs surgery preserves as much healthy skin and underlying tissue as possible while minimizing scarring. Depending on the area of cancerous cells your doctor removes with Mohs surgery, you might need reconstructive surgery afterward. If your surgeon recommends reconstruction, we can often perform the surgery immediately after Mohs surgery on the same day. 

What the procedure entails

If your dermatologist has recommended Mohs surgery to remove a cancerous lesion, be prepared to spend your entire day at the office. It’s difficult to predict just how long your procedure will take because you don’t know just how deep into your skin the cancerous cells go or how extensive the repair will be. Your surgery may take most of the day, or it may be done in just a couple of hours. 

During Mohs surgery, your dermatologist removes fine layers of skin using a scalpel. They examine each thin layer of tissue under a microscope to detect where the cancerous cells are concentrated, mapping them to help determine where to collect cells next. 

They repeat this process until they can no longer see any cancerous cells under the microscope. This intensive process allows your dermatologist to avoid removing healthy cells, whereas other techniques to treat skin cancer, such as excision, remove the cancer plus a margin of healthy skin around it. 

Once all of the cancer cells are gone, your dermatologist decides on the next steps based on the size of the remaining wound. They might place a bandage over it and send you on your way, close the site with stitches, or surgically reconstruct the skin with a graft or flap. 

In any case, they make sure you understand how to care for the wound afterward so you can avoid an infection or other complications. 

Find out if Mohs surgery fits into your treatment plan

Mohs surgery is a highly specialized technique favored by dermatologists due to its efficiency, high cure rate, and lack of lasting scarring. Call Luminary Dermatology at the location near you, or schedule an appointment online to find out if Mohs surgery is the best skin cancer treatment for you.