Dermatology Surgical Associates, LLC

FAQ's


Patient Education Video: Mohs Surgery 

ACMS Video



WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF MOHS SURGERY?
The Mohs micrographic technique offers the highest possible cure rate (up to 99% for many primary skin tumors) for the treatment of skin cancer, compared to other therapeutic modalities.
Mohs surgery also allows the physician to remove as little normal tissue as possible around the tumor, and thus in many cases can provide a superior cosmetic result. 
Another advantage is that Mohs surgery can be performed under local anesthesia in an office setting.  Therefore, even with large skin cancers, hospitalization can usually be avoided.

HOW MANY STAGES OF SURGERY WILL I UNDERGO?
Each stage consists of the surgical removal of any visible or microscopic tumor, tissue processing, and the slide examination. 
The average patient undergoes two stages or procedures although 40% of all patients only require one stage.

HOW LONG SHOULD I PLAN ON SPENDING IN THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE?
The length of time depends largely on the size of your skin cancer and the number of stages that are required. You can expect to stay at least two to four hours, however, some patients may be required to stay longer. Remember that the major goal of the procedure is to achieve 100% removal of all of the tumor cells. The removal of the skin cancer will be completed during your office visit.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE SURGERY IS COMPLETED?
There will be a wound following the completion of the Mohs micrographic surgery. There are several options to allow for healing. These options include allowing the wound to heal by itself, suturing through primary closure, skin grafting, and skin flaps.  In almost all cases we perform the repair of the wound on site immediately following Mohs surgery. It is, however, always your option to select another surgeon for the reconstruction of the postoperative wound.

WILL THERE BE ANY OFFICE VISITS AFTER THE SURGERY?
It will be necessary to see you routinely after the surgery for several months. The frequency of these return visits will depend upon the size and location of your skin cancer. We may use dermabrasion, and other techniques to allow the scar to heal optimally.  After the short-term follow-up visits are completed, the long-term follow-up will be performed by your referring physician.

WHAT IS A BASAL-CELL CARCINOMA?
Basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of cancer in the United States. More than two million people are newly diagnosed each year. This type of cancer rarely metastasizes (spreads to other organs), but it can be locally destructive. The current hypothesis is that basal cell carcinoma is likely caused by chronic or excessive sun exposure or radiation therapy in susceptible individuals.  
With the Mohs technique, primary (previously untreated) BCC can be removed with a cure rate of 99%.

WHAT IS A SQUAMOUS-CELL CARCINOMA?
Squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer.  While there is a greater risk of metastasis (moving to other parts of the body) than basal cell carcinoma, SCC is usually not serious unless it has been neglected.  With Mohs micrographic surgery, primary (previously untreated) cutaneous squamous cell cancer can be removed with a cure rate of 98% to 99%.

WHAT ARE THE CHANCES THAT MY SKIN CANCER WILL RETURN AFTER THE MOHS SURGERY?
Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate of any treatment method. If your skin cancer has never been treated before, then the chance of recurrence is less than 1%. If your lesion has been treated before, then there is less than a 4% chance or less of recurrence.

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES TO MOHS SURGERY?
Mohs surgery is the treatment of choice for recurrent skin cancers, skin cancers that arise in skin that had previous x-ray treatment, and skin cancers near vital organs such as the eyes, mouth, nose and ears. For uncomplicated skin cancers, alternative treatments include routine surgical excision, or destruction of the tumor by burning or freezing.  The cure rate of these treatments is significantly less than Mohs micrographic surgery.

ARE THERE ANY PRE-OPERATIVE INSTRUCTIONS THAT I SHOULD FOLLOW?
Aspirin, aspirin-containing products and anti-inflammatory medications (such as Advil, Ibuprofen, Motrin and Aleve), as well as vitamin E and Fish Oil, should be avoided for at least one week prior to the surgery. If you are taking anti-coagulants or having clotting problems, please let the doctor know. You should otherwise continue to take all of your medicines and you should have a breakfast or lunch prior to the surgery. Heavy alcohol use and smoking should also be avoided for one week prior to your surgery.

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