Mohs Surgery

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What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is one of the most effective and precise skin cancer removal techniques. The Mohs procedure is an in-office surgery whereby thin layers of the skin affected by cancer are shaved away and examined under a microscope. This allows your surgical dermatologist to check if there are any cancer cells remaining and remove only as much skin as needed. It’s a less-invasive alternative to traditional excision techniques which can have a greater chance of scarring.

Mohs surgery can be indicated in a few specific instances of skin cancer. This might include:

  • A high risk of reoccurrence
  • Location in visible areas
  • Poorly defined borders
  • Large or aggressive cancers

It’s used to treat all forms of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Your surgical dermatologist can help you determine the right dermatology services for treating your skin cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancers can come in a few different forms, but growths typically look like large spots with unusual coloring, shape, border, or feel. It may bleed, itch, or burn when you scratch it. It may also look like a sore or scar, and it may be smooth and waxy. If you have any concerns about a spot on your skin, it’s always best to consult a board-certified dermatologist. Learn more about what to look for when it comes to skin cancer here.

What Happens During Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery can be performed in an outpatient surgical room that has a nearby laboratory. It begins by sterilizing the area and applying a topical anesthetic so you can remain comfortable throughout. Once you’re ready, your surgical dermatologist will shave off some of the growth and surrounding skin with a scalpel. The tissue will then be brought to the laboratory to be analyzed under a microscope.

Your surgical dermatologist will analyze the tissue and keep track of where cancer cells are present. This process will be completed several times until your surgical dermatologist doesn’t detect any more cancer cells. Then, your surgical dermatologist will close the wound using options like a skin graft, stitches, or leaving it alone. They will determine the best method for the best cosmetic outcome. Overall, Mohs surgery can take a few hours so patients should wear comfortable clothing and bring a book or show to pass the time. Once complete, you can return home.

How Do I Take Care of My Skin After Mohs Surgery?

You’ll be given detailed instructions by our team on how to take care of your surgical site afterward. This includes keeping the area clean and bandaged. It’s extremely important to keep the site covered with SPF 30+ since sun damage can cause hyperpigmentation and visible scarring. It also increases the risk of skin cancer reoccurring.

Make sure to check in with your surgical dermatologist after surgery, and our team will make sure you know when to follow up. It’s recommended to undergo a professional skin check yearly to make sure your skin cancer doesn’t reoccur.

Schedule an Appointment

Our Mohs surgeon can help you understand your options for skin cancer treatment. To meet with our team and learn more, contact our Mesa office by calling or filling out our online form.

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