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What You Should Know About Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery and it is a surgical operation carried out on a cancer patient to remove cancerous cells of the skin. The surgery involves the examination of the layers of the skin and the removal of cancer-stricken cells. In the end, only the tissues free of cancer are left.

During the surgery, examination of the skin for tumors are done in a horizontal manner and not the usual vertical manner. The main aim of the surgery is to carefully remove as much cancerous parts of the skin as possible with the least damage to the skin. With Mohs surgery, doctors are able to verify that all the cancerous cells have been pulled off the skin. This is an improvement on the standard surgery because it offers higher chances of totally curing skin cancer. With it, additional treatments may not be required.

This kind of surgery is suitable for squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and skin cancers. It is also used to treat some other kinds of skin cancers like melanoma. Whatever kind of cancer you have, you doctor will determine if Mohs surgery will help your situation.

Mohs Surgery Before and After

However, here are some situations that necessitate Mohs surgery:

• Skin cancers are either large or multiply aggressively.
• Cancer has difficult-to-define borders.
• When the cancer affects vital parts of the body like the genitals, hands, mouth, nose, ears, and eyes.
• The likelihood of reoccurrence is very high or when it has actually re-occurred.

When any of the listed situations holds true for your skin cancer, you are better off undergoing Mohs surgery.

What you should know about reconstruction

Reconstruction should be after performed after Mohs surgery, but it could be immediately after or at a point in time after the surgery. Your Mohs surgeon should decide on that based on certain factors. One of the challenge of treating skin cancer is that it is not possible to know how serious the issue is prior to the surgery.

Once it is decided that you need reconstruction, your surgeon will determine the most suitable reconstructive surgery options for you. Some of the factors considered are location, depth of roots, and size of tumor.

Small and superficial wounds will be given enough time to heal on their own. Since small wounds heal faster, the time required is not much and when wounds heal on their own, the risk of infection is reduced and degree of scarring is usually minimal.

Wounds that are a little larger may be stitched side-to-side and much larger wounds usually require skin graft from different areas of the body. The reconstructive surgery are often carried out under local anesthesia.

Why you need a follow up

Mohs surgeons usually advises patients on post-surgical check-ups because it is very likely the cancer reoccurs. So, the end of the surgery should not be taken as the end of the treatment. According to a reliable report, 2 out of 5 skin cancer cases usually reoccurs within 5 years. This is why follow-up is necessary. Moreover, it is easier to treat it in its earlier stage.

Additionally, some studies indicate that people who have had cancer are more likely to encounter it again. Furthermore, half of people who have been treated for a particular type of skin cancer are more likely to develop another type within a period of 5 years. This is why your surgery is not complete without a follow-up schedule. The specific type of skin cancer you were treated for will determine how often you will go for skin examination. However, no matter how simple the case is, you should have your skin examined at least once in a year.


Interested to know about your Mohs surgery options?  Whether you are thinking about having this surgery, a reconstruction or have had prior surgery and are seeking additional touch-ups, it is critical to work with a skilled plastic surgeon that specializes in facial procedures. Dr. Robert Sheffield is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon at SB Aesthetics offering services to those in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Oxnard and Ventura, CA, and the surrounding communities.  Dr. Sheffield offers patients a customized treatment plan and is available to answer your questions. To schedule a consultation, call 805.318.3280 today.


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