Mohs surgery is widely considered to be the gold standard of skin cancer treatment. Dermatologists can perform it to remove basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are the two most common types of skin cancer. The majority of patients who undergo successful Mohs surgery have a favorable prognosis.
Before Your Appointment
Once your dermatologist determines that you could benefit from Mohs surgery, you may be asked to temporarily discontinue certain medications. These include blood-thinners and certain supplements. Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you can return home the same day. There is no lengthy recovery. Do clear your schedule for the entire day, as the procedure can be time-consuming. Wear comfortable clothing, and bring a book, as you’ll be spending a lot of time waiting for lab results.
During the Surgery
The doctor cleanses the area and injects a local anesthetic, so you won’t feel any pain. You’ll remain awake for this surgery. Once the area is thoroughly numb, the dermatologist removes the cancerous tissue that is visible on the skin, along with a very thin layer of tissue underneath it. Then, you’ll have a temporary bandage placed. The doctor takes the excised tissue to the lab for analysis. If the doctor finds cancerous tissue in the layer of skin under the tumor, he or she will remove another layer of tissue in that particular area. This tissue is then tested in the lab. The process is repeated until the last tissue sample is negative for cancer.
After the Surgery
This surgical technique spares the healthy tissue around and underneath the cancerous growth. Because of this, the wound left behind is often small. Depending on the extent of the surgery, you might only need a bandage over the site. Otherwise, the dermatologist may place sutures, or perform a skin flap or skin graft. Expect to have regular and ongoing skin cancer screenings in the coming years, as you’ll have an increased risk of developing skin cancer again.
The team at Arlington Dermatology is dedicated to saving the lives of our patients with cutting-edge skin cancer treatments, available in our Arlington Heights office. We also provide comprehensive skin cancer screenings, which are recommended for adults annually. You can speak with a friendly staff member at 847-392-5440.