Enjoy healthy skin and peace of mind when you treat skin cancer with Mohs surgery, available in North Port, Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice, and other locations serving South Florida.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a safe and effective treatment for skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, cancerous tissue is removed in small sections. While the patient waits, a pathologist examines each tissue specimen for malignant cells. If malignant cells are found, more tissue is removed until the cancer is eradicated. This comprehensive microscopic examination helps to target only cancerous tissue, significantly reducing damage to healthy surrounding tissue. Developed by Frederic E. Mohs, M.D., in the 1930s, Mohs surgery excises not only the visible tumor, but any “roots” extending beneath the surface of the skin. Five-year cure rates of up to 99 percent for first-time cancers and 95 percent for recurring cancers have been documented.
What Kind of Skin Cancer Does Mohs Surgery Address?
Mohs surgery is primarily used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common types of skin cancer, although it can be used for melanoma and other types of cancer. Mohs surgery is often recommended for recurring cancers, as well as those in difficult-to-treat areas, such as the nose, eyelids, lips, hairline, hands, feet and genitals, in which preserving as much tissue as possible is extremely important.
The Mohs Surgery Procedure
Mohs surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure in a physician’s office. It may be performed by a team of highly trained specialists, each member of which specializes in a different part of the surgery, or by one experienced surgeon capable of performing the entire procedure. During Mohs surgery, the treatment area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Small layers of skin are removed, and each layer is examined microscopically to see if it contains malignant cells. Excision continues until the cancer is completely removed. Most Mohs procedures can be performed in three or fewer stages, and take approximately 4 hours.
Recovery from Mohs Surgery
After Mohs surgery, patients experience mild discomfort, bleeding, bruising and swelling. Pain medication is prescribed if needed, although most patients require only over-the-counter medication.
Mohs Surgery Scarring
Mohs surgery leaves scars, although they are often smaller than those from other excision procedures. Reconstructive procedures, including skin flaps and skin grafts, can reduce the prominence of, or even eliminate, scars; they can be performed at the same time as the Mohs surgery or at a later date. If possible, surgical techniques, including placing stitches in the skin’s natural creases or out-of-sight areas, are used to make scarring less visible.
Mohs Surgery FAQ
Is Mohs surgery considered a major operation?
No, Mohs surgery is usually considered minor surgery.
How painful is Mohs surgery?
Your surgeon will numb the treatment area so you won’t feel anything during the surgery. Most people report mild discomfort after the procedure, which is easily managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Are stitches always necessary after Mohs surgery?
In most cases, you will need stitches to close your Mohs surgical wound. However, some surgical wounds are small enough to heal on their own.
How long does it take to recover on average?
After Mohs surgery, the surgical site needs approximately 4 to 6 weeks to completely heal, although smaller incisions may take less time.
Is there anything I should avoid after surgery?
It’s best to refrain from bending, lifting heavy items, drinking alcohol, and engaging in strenuous activities for several days after Mohs surgery.
Will I need cosmetic surgery after Mohs surgery?
In some cases, Mohs surgery can cause scarring that requires cosmetic surgery to repair.
Should I use Vaseline® after surgery or some other type of topical ointment?
To promote healing and minimize scarring, it may be helpful to keep the surgical site moist with a topical ointment such as Vaseline, Aquaphor®, or BIAFINE®. Once your stitches are removed, certain products such as Mederma®, Bio-Oil®, and silicone scar gel can help with scar formation. Check with your doctor before applying anything to your surgical site after Mohs surgery.
Are you interested in learning more about Mohs skin cancer surgery at one of our Florida locations? Schedule an appointment today or request a consultation online or by calling (888) 698-0977 to get started.