Mohs Micrographic Surgery

Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center provides Mohs surgery as a treatment option for skin cancer patients, specifically in the removal of basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas — two of the most common types of skin cancer. We are the only Mohs surgery facility between Cleveland, OH, and Pittsburgh, PA. Doctors J. Raymond Bernat, Jr., M.D. and Patrick Lee Shannon, M.D. are members of the American Society For Mohs Surgery. 

Mohs micrographic surgery is used for the full removal of cancerous tissues, while leaving intact as much healthy surrounding tissue as possible. While it is highly effective, Mohs surgery isn’t used to treat all skin cancers. This skin cancer treatment, is usually reserved for cancers that:

  • Are aggressive and/or large
  • Are located in areas where preservation of healthy tissue is important, such as around the ears, eyes, feet, genitals, hands, mouth, and nose
  • Have unclear or indistinguishable borders.
  • Have recurred following prior treatment or have a high probability of recurrence

Benefits Of Mohs Surgery

With a 99 percent success rate, Mohs micrographic surgery is one of the best procedures to combat certain types of skin cancer. This surgery is so effective because every piece of affected tissue is removed and examined at a microscopic level. Other benefits of the Mohs procedure include eliminating any chance of cancer regrowth, minimizing loss of healthy tissue, repairing the operation site the same day as cancer removal, and maximizing the cosmetic and functional outcomes of the surgery. 

How To Prepare For Mohs Surgery

Once your surgeon with Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center decides Mohs surgery is an appropriate treatment, they will create a pre-surgery preparation plan. This may include directions to:

  • Stop taking specific medications and supplements
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Plan to be at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center all day.
  • Bring items to help pass the time while your surgeon is in the laboratory

What You Can Expect During Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure. Your skin cancer surgeon will perform the procedure in an operating or procedure room located near a laboratory. Close proximity to a laboratory is necessary to allow the surgeon to examine each layer of removed tissue for abnormal cells.

Mohs Surgery Procedure

The surgical area is cleansed and outlined before local anesthesia numbs the patient’s surgical area. The surgeon uses a scalpel to excise the visible skin cancer and a thin layer of tissue from beneath the abnormal tissues. The tissue is then taken for analysis in the laboratory. Using a microscope, the tissue is carefully examined as the surgeon looks for additional cancerous cells. If additional cells are found, the precise location is mapped and surgery resumes from that location until the last removed tissue sample is cancer-free. Examination of the tissue is the most time-consuming portion of the procedure, usually requiring about an hour to complete. 

What Are The Risks?

Since Mohs surgery is performed using a local anesthetic, many of the common surgical risks associated with general anesthesia are removed. Risks are unique to each individual; however, there are some common risks for the surgery including the following:

  • Temporary bleeding
  • Pain
  • Tenderness around the area
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infected wound 
  • Temporary loss of nerve function
  • Keloid (raised) scarring
  • Permanent or temporary numbness in the area

The latter two risks are rare, but still possible. Mohs surgery requires skill and precision so the surgeon can map-out the tumor and analyze tissue layers. The dedicated professionals at Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center are here to make your surgery as quick and painless as possible.

How Long Does Mohs Surgery Take? 

Generally, Mohs surgery is completed in a few hours, but your surgeon won’t be able to know the exact duration of the procedure until surgery begins. This is because the roots of the skin cancer aren’t visible on the surface of the skin, making it difficult to determine how much of tissues require removal. 

When Will I Know If The Surgery Was Successful?

Immediately. Your skin cancer surgeon will let you know of the findings after each tissue sample is examined. The procedure is complete when all cancerous tissue has been removed from the surgical area. 

Mohs Surgery Recovery

Immediately after the surgery, patients often feel tired and groggy. Avoid strenuous activities, such as bending, and relax in the days following the procedure. A minor amount of bleeding and minimal pain are expected but can be managed with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Patients may also experience swelling and bruising around the site 3–4 days after surgery, though these symptoms should improve within a week of the surgery. To help reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the region each hour for 20 minutes for the first 48 hours post-surgery. If the bleeding or pain is severe, contact Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center right away.

Will I Have A Scar Afterward?

The majority of patients who undergo Mohs surgery are left with minimal scarring thanks to the precision of the overall procedure. Once the cancerous tissue has been removed and the surgery is complete, you and your Mohs micrographic surgeon will discuss wound repair.

  • Healing by second intention: Allowing the wound to heal naturally.
  • Primary closure: Closing the wound with sutures.
  • Skin flap: Moving adjacent skin to cover the wound.
  • Skin graft: Using skin from another area of the body to cover the wound.

When To Schedule Mohs Surgery In Boardman, OH

Mohs surgery has a high cure rate for skin cancers. But, patients diagnosed with skin cancer have a higher risk of recurrence or developing another skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. Your Advanced Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center surgeon will schedule follow-up visits to check surgical area healing and for new skin cancer development. Most follow-up appointments are scheduled at least once a year, but they may be scheduled more often if the skin cancer is aggressive or has a high probability of recurrence.

To schedule a consultation or discuss our other skin care treatments, contact us today!

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