Your Guide to Mohs Surgery

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Your Guide to Mohs Surgery
source: ucsfhealth.org

Mohs surgery is a straightforward procedure that removes skin cancer from parts such as the head, neck, and hands. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery. It has a success rate of 99 percent and is less likely to leave a scar than traditional surgery. It may be recommended for people who have had several skin cancer procedures, suspicious-looking moles or spots, areas of unusual markings on the skin, and those with atypical mole syndrome. You can talk to a Chevy Chase Mohs surgery specialist to learn more about the treatment. 

Why Is It Done?

Mohs surgery is used as a treatment for skin cancer. It is less invasive than traditional surgeries, can be used for cancers that are difficult to remove with other types of surgery, and may reduce the need for further procedures following Mohs surgery.

Mohs surgery is usually done when other treatment methods have failed. This procedure includes removing single layers of skin tissue, which are viewed under a microscope after each layer is removed until they locate the area with cancer cells and remove them. Since it removes only one layer of tissue at a time, the risk of having an unsightly scar or disfigurement reduces significantly.

What Happens During the Procedure?

There are three stages in Mohs surgery:

  • A doctor will administer local anesthesia to numb the area where cancer cells are present or on sites suspected of being cancerous. There are also methods for people who cannot receive general anesthesia due to medical conditions or other factors.
  • The cancerous tissue will be removed and examined under a microscope to determine if all the cancer cells have been removed.
  • If other cancer cells are found, the process will start again, with another layer of skin tissue being removed.

How to Prepare for Surgery?

There is no special preparation needed before Mohs surgery, but you should stop smoking six weeks before the procedure. You should also avoid drinking grapefruit juice for five days before surgery because it can interfere with blood-thinning medications.

How Will I Feel After Surgery?

Most people will experience some swelling or bruising after Mohs surgery. You will be given instructions on how to care for the area that the doctor operated on, which may include using ice packs and keeping the site dry.

You can expect to see the results of the Mohs surgery several days after the procedure.

Depending on the size of the area operated on, you may be given antibiotics to prevent infection. The stitches or staples will need to be removed by your doctor five to seven days after Mohs surgery. You can expect any numbness in affected areas to gradually wear off over time.

What Are the Risks?

The risks associated with Moh’s surgery are minimal but can include:

  • Anesthesia reactions
  • Infection
  • Scarring or discoloration of the skin, especially when taking biopsies in sensitive areas underneath the eyes
  • Recurrence of cancer in patients who have multiple tumors in one place, known as having a multifocal disease

In summary, Mohs surgery is a surgical procedure that removes skin cancer from parts of the body such as the head, neck, and hands. It is used for cancers that are difficult to remove with other types of surgery or those that have not responded to other treatments. The treatment involves three stages. You can feel some swelling or bruising after surgery, but it goes away after some time. Common risks include anesthesia reactions, infection, and scarring.

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