From Pimples to Moles: A Website About Dermatology

What You Need To Know About Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is a treatment option used to treat non-melanoma skin cancer. It is highly effective to treat issues like squamous and basal cell carcinoma. The surgery is actually older than you might think, dating back to the 1930s. It was developed further in the 1970s and 80s, especially when medical professionals began to better understand skin cancer.

What Does Mohs Procedure Involve?

Mohs surgery involves the removal of skin cancer by removing each layer individually. The professional will examine the removed tissue under a microscope until they find a layer of tissue that does not have cancerous cells. Most people who undergo the procedure need only to do it once for each cancer found. The process is completed in a series of steps, which is why it differs from other types of surgeries.

You may undergo the procedure if you have skin cancer near the lips, ears, feet, nose, eyes, and hands. The scalp and neck are also strong candidates for the surgery.

Who Can Undergo Mohs Surgery?

If you are diagnosed with basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma, you may be a good candidate for Mohs surgery. The surgery is highly effective for those areas around the neck and head.  The best candidates for Mohs surgery are those with large cancer in areas that are typically low-risk for cancer. If your cancer has iffy borders, small patterns of growth, and commonly reoccurring cancers, you may be a good fit for the procedure.

Some melanoma patients are also good candidates for the procedure, but this is something your dermatologist will help you figure out. Typically, Mohs is reserved for nonmelanoma cancers.

How Can You Prepare for Mohs Surgery?

Your first step to prepare for Mohs surgery is to find a surgeon that you trust and feel comfortable with. You should also tell your surgeon about any medications you are taking right now. You may be required to stop taking some of those medications to ensure that you do not bleed too much during surgery and to help you recover more quickly.

Preparation for surgery also requires that you have the time in your day for surgery. For instance, you may need to take an entire day off to have surgery, which may be surprising if you have only had small pieces of skin or moles removed. You need to talk to your doctor about how long the procedure may take.