Mohs Surgery: What to Expect
If you’ve been told that you have skin cancer and need to undergo surgery to have the growth removed, we understand that this can be a stressful time. We want to make it less stressful by providing you with detailed information about what to expect when you come into our office for Mohs surgery.
First and foremost, this surgery is great for large or recurring skin cancers that are in more delicate regions such as the face, as this procedure is designed to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. In fact, Mohs surgery has one of the highest cure rates, making it one of the most effective ways to treat skin cancer. Here’s what you should know about this procedure,
Before Mohs Surgery
You will meet with our board-certified dermatologist Dr. Peters for a comprehensive consultation in which we will determine whether Mohs surgery is the best treatment option based on the location and stage of your cancer. We will also provide you with a list of instructions that you should follow before undergoing surgery. These instructions may include stopping certain medications days before the surgery. If you are unclear about any instructions or have any concerns, please give us a call.
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure performed here in our office, which means that you will be able to return home right after your procedure. The procedure usually takes about four hours, depending on the size and depth of the cancer. First, a local anesthetic will be applied to the treatment area to numb it. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, we will remove a thin layer of tissue.
This tissue will be examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells. Surrounding tissue will also be taken to check for cancer cells. If cancer cells are detected, we will remove even more tissue until there are no longer cancerous cells present. This method, while a bit more involved and time-consuming, allows our team to minimize the amount of healthy tissue that is removed.
Since this procedure is a more conservative approach to treating skin cancer the recovery process is rather easy and straightforward. Depend on the size of the growth, it can take several weeks for the wound to completely heal. Your dermatologist will provide you with detailed instructions about how to care for and bandage the wound. We will also discuss follow-up appointments and whether additional treatment is necessary.