Skin Cancer Surgery
A number of treatment modalities can be used to treat skin cancer, including topical chemotherapy creams or solutions, electrodessication and curettage, surgical excisions, and Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a special tissue sparing technique used to treat skin cancer. The technique was first developed by Dr. Friedrich Mohs in the 1930s, but has expanded to be the cornerstone of treatment for skin cancer. Mohs Micrographic Surgery is the only type of skin cancer removal where 100% of the surgical margin is examined, and consequently, the technique has a 98% cure rate for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common types of skin cancer. Mohs Micrographic Surgery can also be used to treat melanoma-in-situ and other rarer tumors. The technique is best for areas where tissue conservation is a priority, such as the face, nose, ears, neck, fingers, and genitals.
During Mohs Micrographic Surgery, an initial thin layer of tissue is removed from around the area of visible skin cancer, or the biopsy scar if no remaining cancer is visible. The tissue is then processed in the clinic’s lab to generate slides. The physician examines the slides under the microscope and maps out the position of any residual tumor to the respective location on the skin. If there is residual tumor, the surgeon removes another layer of tissue where they saw tumor, sparing the adjacent healthy tissue. This process continues until the cancer is completely removed. Once the cancer has been entirely removed, and the slides show a margin of healthy tissue, the Mohs surgeon performs reconstructive surgery to repair the area and minimize scarring.