Center for Surgical Dermatology & Dermatology Associates is here for you – specializing in Mohs surgeries and more.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery, named after Dr. Frederick Mohs, is a highly specialized surgical treatment for the complete removal of skin cancer. It differs from other forms of treating skin cancers by the use of COMPLETE microscopic examination of ALL tissues removed. This allows the Mohs surgeon to remove only the cancer cells and leave the normal skin untouched.
The Mohs procedure is performed by specially trained surgeons who have completed one additional year of training known as a fellowship. This is in addition to their one year internship then three years of dermatology residency.
A Mohs surgeon is specially trained in surgery, pathology and reconstruction.
What are the Advantages of Mohs Surgery?
By using detailed mapping techniques, the Mohs surgeon can pinpoint areas that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, even the smallest root to the cancer can be removed. The result is #1 removal of as little as normal skin as possible and #2 the highest possibility of curing the cancer even when other methods of treatment have failed.
The Mohs technique is the treatment of choice for many cancers of the face and other critical body areas.
What should you prepare for?
Our staff will escort you into the surgical suite where medical questions will be asked along with review of medications and a check of your blood pressure. The doctor will then numb, with a local anesthetic, the area around the skin cancer. We use a far less painful local anesthetic than most other physicians. While the injection may be uncomfortable, our patients routinely tell us that it hurt far less than injections they have received elsewhere.
Once numb, the visible cancer along with a thin layer of normal appearing tissue will be removed. This tissue is carefully mapped by the surgeon and taken to the lab to be processed. A temporary bandage is placed over the wound and you return to the reception area.
The surgical procedure alone takes only 10-15 minutes. However, it takes on the average 45-60 minutes to prepare and examine the tissues of each layer. Large skin cancers may take significantly longer. Although, there is no way to tell how many layers will be necessary to remove the entire cancer, most are removed in 3 layers or less.
Since we do not know in advance how much time is necessary to remove the skin cancer and repair the wound, we ask that you plan for the possibility of being in the office the entire day. Please do not make other commitments. Most patients are here, however, 3-4 hours.
What should you do after your Mohs Surgery?
Verbal instructions for wound care will be covered in detail after surgery. We will also provide a written set of instructions with contact numbers should you have additional questions.
When you leave, there will be a big bulky dressing over your surgical site, which needs to stay in place for the next 24 hours.
Many patients choose to remain home the day after surgery. In general, this is a good idea. The doctor will tell you if any additional time off is needed. We are happy to provide a work excuse if necessary.
Please avoid strenuous activity for 1 week after surgery unless otherwise instructed. Activities that increase your heart rate and blood pressure (exercising, sports, lifting heavy objects, yard work) increase your chance of developing post-op complications including bleeding and infection.
Flying on an airplane can complicate your recovery and we request at least 48 hours after surgery before airplane travel.
Bruising and swelling vary considerably among patients. Assume that you will be bruised and/or swollen for a week or even longer. The site of your surgery and your activity level contributes to the amount of bruising and/or swelling you may have.