Surgical Dermatology: When is Mohs Micrographic Surgery the Best Treatment Option?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with skin cancer and you’re looking at treatment options, it’s likely that Mohs micrographic surgery has come up. Perhaps you are unsure what exactly Mohs entails and if it’s right for you.
What Does Mohs Surgery Accomplish?
First and foremost, Mohs procedures are a form of surgical excision. During a Mohs procedure, thin layers of cancerous skin tissue are removed and examined until all that’s left is cancer-free tissue. It is performed as an outpatient procedure with a local anesthetic. For larger or more sensitive areas of the body, this may be subject to change. This method of surgical excision is much more precise than more traditional methods of cancerous tissue removal. Where local surgery typically removes cancerous tissue and a small margin of healthy tissue, the precision of Mohs surgery allows surgeons to determine with certainty when all of the cancerous tissue has been removed.
What Types of Cancer Is Mohs Most Effective On?
Fortunately, Mohs surgery dermatology is one of the most effective treatments for a wide variety of skin cancers. While it may be used most often to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, there are plenty of other cancers that Mohs helps treat. In fact, Mohs surgical excisions can be used to treat certain types of melanoma and even more unusual or rare types of skin cancer. The key to this procedure’s effectiveness on so many types of skin cancer is its precision. When every layer of tissue removed is examined, surgeons are able to preserve much more healthy tissue than previous iterations of excisions allowed.
How Do I Know if I’m a Good Candidate for Mohs Surgery?
As previously discussed, Mohs surgery is an effective treatment for multiple types of skin cancer. That said, there are a few important factors that you need to consider before proceeding with a Mohs procedure. A good candidate for Mohs typically:
- Has a high risk of skin cancer recurrence or a particularly aggressive form of skin cancer.
- Has experienced skin cancer recurrence since previous treatments, whether Mohs or otherwise.
- Has skin cancer in an area where they need to preserve cosmetic appearance and maximum function. These areas may include near the eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, feet, and genitals.
- Has skin cancer that is located on scar tissue.
- Has skin cancer covering a large area or that is growing rapidly.
- Has large areas of skin cancer with ill-defined edges.
If your situation encompasses one or more of these defining factors, it could be a good idea to consider skin cancer treatment in the form of Mohs surgery. Of course, even small areas of cancerous tissue can be treated with Mohs. Since this is typically an outpatient procedure, there’s no need for lengthy hospital stays.
A skin cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Mohs offers the option of precise, efficient, and effective treatment for multiple types of skin cancer. If you want to learn more about whether Mohs is right for you, contact our offices at North Pacific Dermatology to set up your appointment today.