Understanding Mohs Surgery

Ok, so your dermatologist says you have a skin cancer and it needs to be removed. Don’t freak out. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it’s the most common type of cancer in the United States. In fact, 1 in 5 people are likely to get it in their lifetime. Because it is so common, there is a lot that can be done to treat and cure it. For the highest chance of a cure with the most promising cosmetic results, Mohs surgery is the preferred method. Our dermatologists and surgeons in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut are board-certified and have specialized training to perform successful Mohs surgeries to remove harmful skin cancer cells.

How is the Mohs Surgery Performed?

Mohs is recognized the world over as the more precise method of skin cancer removal because it can eliminate cancer cells with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue, which is ideal for skin cancers in the most noticeable places.

So, what happens during this procedure? First, the surgeon outlines the area and numbs it with an injection. The surgeon then removes the visible part of the tumor and a bit of the surrounding skin. After a bandage is applied, the tissue will be examined under a microscope to ensure all of the edges are cancer-free. What happens if they are not? The surgeon will remove more tissue, and reexamine. This process repeats until the cancer has been completely removed.

Recovery After Mohs Surgery – What to Expect

Your recovery time depends entirely on your specific case. The location of the surgery, the type of suturing and reconstruction performed, and the extent of the cancer are all factors in how quickly you’ll get back to your everyday life. The cancer is removed immediately, but it could take several months to heal completely. Depending on the severity of the procedure, your doctor may recommend using dissolvable sutures, using a skin flap or graft to cover the wound, or simply allowing it to heal on its own.

Generally speaking, you can expect some swelling, tenderness, and soreness for the next day or two following the procedure. You’ll need to keep it easy and limit activity for at least a week, possibly two. Bandages will be applied for about a week and you will need to take care of your wound twice a day for the next couple weeks. Be sure to keep it covered and protected from the sun.

Is Mohs the Best Skin Cancer Remedy?

There are a number of other procedures available to treat or remove skin cancer. Your doctor might recommend freezing, excision, topical medications, scraping or burning, or radiation. It completely depends on your unique situation. What most doctors will agree on is that Mohs is the preferred method because it removes the least amount of healthy tissue and is best for treating sensitive areas, such as the nose, lips, ears, and eyelids with minimal cosmetic concerns, particularly with well-defined skin cancers. That means you’ll be back to your healthy, beautiful self in no time.

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