5 Things You Should Know About Mohs Micrographic Surgery!

Has your medical provider recommended Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) as a treatment option for your skin cancer? Below are 5 Things to Know about MMS before your procedure.

1. Why is Mohs Micrographic Surgery performed?

Though your skin cancer may look like a bump or mole on the surface, skin cancers often have irregular borders and “roots” that extend into the surrounding healthy tissue. The Mohs micrographic surgery procedure allows your surgeon to follow and remove these cancerous “roots” while leaving healthy, noncancerous tissue intact.

Mohs micrographic surgery is a safe and effective procedure performed for various types of skin cancer, including basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Mohs micrographic surgery is often performed for skin cancers located on the face, neck, or other sensitive areas. “This procedure helps to preserve your physical appearance by allowing your surgeon to effectively target your cancer while minimizing the amount of healthy tissue that is removed,” notes Dr. Chad Prather, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Sanova Dermatology in various locations throughout Louisiana.

2. What happens during the procedure?

The American College of Mohs Surgery provides a helpful illustration of the Mohs micrographic surgery process. Your surgeon will administer a local anesthetic before starting, but you will remain awake during the procedure. “Mohs micrographic surgery is a step by step process that may last several hours; your surgeon will remove a piece of the skin cancer with a scalpel and then examine the tissue under a microscope to look for cancer cells,” explains Dr. Prather. “He or she is able to distinguish areas that have normal tissue from those with cancerous cells and will make targeted cuts until no more cancerous cells are seen,” he continues.

Your surgeon is dedicated to helping you achieve the best cosmetic result following your Mohs micrographic surgery procedure. The surgical site may be allowed to heal naturally, stitched, or the Mohs micrographic surgery may be followed by a reconstructive procedure, such as a skin flap or skin graft.

3. Is my cancer likely to recur?

“Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly effective treatment option for many primary or recurrent skin cancers” shares Dr. Prather. For example, the Mayo Clinic Proceedings state that a 99% cure rate is observed in patients with primary basal cell carcinoma that have undergone the procedure. Cure rates vary based on the type of skin cancer and severity; your medical provider can provide more specific information about your cancer.

4. What should I expect during recovery?

Mohs micrographic surgery is an outpatient procedure, and you will be provided with post-operative care instructions such as when to change your bandages and activities that should be avoided. The total healing process can take several months, but the appearance of the surgical site will improve within weeks. Images of this skin cancer surgery performed at Sanova Dermatology can be found here.

5. Where can I find more information about Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Additional information is available on the Sanova Dermatology and American College of Mohs Surgery websites.

Contact us for more information or for a consultation.

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