Mohs Surgery

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What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is one of the most effective and precise ways to treat skin cancer. It’s an in-office surgery whereby thin layers of the skin affected by cancer are shaved away and examined under a microscope. This allows your surgical dermatologist to check if there are any cancer cells remaining and remove only as much skin as needed. It’s a less-invasive alternative to traditional excision techniques which can have a greater chance of scarring.

Mohs surgery can be indicated in a few specific instances of skin cancer. This might include:

  • A high risk of reoccurrence
  • Location in visible areas
  • Poorly defined borders
  • Large or aggressive cancers

It’s used to treat all forms of skin cancer, and your surgical dermatologist can help you determine the right approach for treating your skin cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer can come in a few different forms, but growths typically look like large spots with unusual coloring, shape, border, or feel. It may bleed, itch, or burn when you scratch it. It may also look like a sore or scar, and it may be smooth and waxy. If you have any concerns about a spot on your skin, it’s always best to consult a board-certified dermatologist. Learn more about what to look for when it comes to skin cancer here.

What Happens During Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery can be performed in an outpatient surgical room that has a nearby laboratory. It begins by sterilizing the area and applying a topical anesthetic so you can remain comfortable throughout. Once you’re ready, your surgical dermatologist will shave off some of the growth and surrounding skin with a scalpel. The tissue will then be brought to the laboratory to be analyzed under a microscope. Your surgical dermatologist will analyze the tissue and keep track of where cancer cells are present. This process will be completed several times until your surgical dermatologist doesn’t detect any more cancer cells. Then, your surgical dermatologist will close the wound using options like a skin graft, stitches, or leaving it alone. Overall, Mohs surgery can take a few hours so make sure to wear comfortable clothing and bring a book or show to pass time. Once complete, you can return home.

How Do I Take Care of My Skin After Mohs Surgery?

You’ll be given detailed instructions by our team on how to take care of your surgical site afterward. This includes keeping the area clean and bandaged. It’s extremely important to keep the site covered with SPF 30+ since sun damage can cause hyperpigmentation and visible scarring. It also increases the risk of skin cancer reoccurring. Make sure to check in with your surgical dermatologist after surgery, and our team will make sure you know when to follow up. It’s recommended to undergo a professional skin check yearly to make sure your skin cancer doesn’t reoccur.

Schedule an Appointment

Our Mohs surgeon can help you understand your options for skin cancer treatment. To meet with our team and learn more, contact our Mesa office by calling or filling out our online form.

Can Mohs surgery be done on melanomas?

Mohs surgery is not typically recommended to treat melanomas. Most of the time Mohs surgery is performed on non-melanoma skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Does Mohs surgery cause cancer to spread?

No – Mohs surgery carefully removes all cancerous cells to ensure they cannot spread further. There is no causation between Mohs surgery and cancer spreading to other areas.

Can Mohs surgery cause nerve damage?

There is a small chance of nerve damage with any surgery, and our surgical dermatology team can help you understand the risks and rewards of Mohs surgery. In many cases, nerve damage from Mohs surgery is only temporary and eventually subsides.

Is Mohs surgery covered under most insurance?

Many major insurance providers cover Mohs surgery. Our team will help you understand your coverage so you can maximize your benefits and get the professional treatment you need. Because it is done in the clinic setting Medicare and commercial insurance plans do not require prior authorization.

Can Mohs surgery make you tired?

Mohs surgery can take several hours and for some patients, the extended time can be draining to their energy levels. Our team will ensure you know what to expect and how you can ensure a comfortable and successful procedure.

What should I expect after the procedure?

After Mohs surgery, our team will provide detailed aftercare instructions on how to care for your surgical site. Unless your job is labor-intensive, you can return to work within 1-2 days.

Will I have pain after Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery causes some pain and swelling for the first 3-4 days. However, it’s usually minor and can be managed with Tylenol and ice packs.

Will I have bruising after Mohs surgery?

You may have some bruising after Mohs surgery, especially if you take blood-thinning medications like ibuprofen before or after surgery. However, you can expect bruising to go away within 1-2 weeks.

Will Mohs surgery leave a scar?

There’s no such thing as surgery without a scar, but your surgical dermatologist will take care to ensure that your scar has the best cosmetic outcome. Scars can take up to a year to fade after surgery. Our team can recommend products and treatments to fade scarring.

How does Mohs surgery work?

Mohs surgery is a meticulous procedure that removes individual layers of skin at a time. Your surgical dermatologist will examine the layers under a microscope to check for cancerous cells. Once all the cancerous cells are gone, the surgery is complete.

Once the wound has healed, how often must I return for a follow-up?

Your follow-up schedule will depend on your unique procedure, but it’s generally recommended to return to your dermatologist every six months after surgery. Your dermatologist can check for any signs of reemerging cancer and act promptly if it comes back.

What are the advantages of Mohs surgery?

What are the advantages of Mohs surgery?nThe biggest advantage of Mohs surgery is that it has a 99% cure rate. In addition, Mohs surgery removes only as much skin as needed to get rid of cancer. This reduces downtime and has the highest chance of treatment success.

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Ready to take the first step towards achieving your skincare goals? Schedule a consultation with us online, call us, or text us!


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