About Mohs Surgery
A diagnosis of cancer can be unnerving, but for individuals who are diagnosed with skin cancer, there are new techniques that make the prognosis and recovery more promising than in years past. Mohs or Frozen Section surgery is a procedure that carefully and precisely removes skin cancer. The intention of the procedure is to remove as little of your healthy skin tissue as possible while still maintaining a high success rate for skin cancer eradication. The surgical technique is used to treat squamous and basal cell carcinomas as well as a few other less common types of tumors. Skilled plastic surgeon Dr. S. Darrell Lee of Lee Plastic Surgery and Laser Center in Port St. Lucie, FL will begin this procedure by slowly and carefully removing the cancerous tissue one layer at a time. After each and every layer, he will examine the cellular makeup of the skin tissue to determine if more cancer remains and should be cut away.
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The Mohs surgery technique is largely used to treat the two most common forms of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, as well as a selection of other skin cancer subtypes. If you are suffering from melanoma or another form of rare skin cancer, a consultation will help determine if you are a good candidate for Mohs surgery. In addition to the sort of skin cancer you have, there are also other qualifying criteria that make you a good candidate for Mohs surgery.
Mohs surgery is the best option if your cancer has a high risk of recurrence or if it has already returned after getting treatment. The cancer cells must also be located in sensitive areas, such as the eyes, ears, mouth, or nose. Skin cancer cells that are large, aggressive, and contain borders that are hard to define are also best treated with Mohs surgery.
Dr. Lee utilizes the Frozen Section method. Although the surgical aspect is similar to Mohs, the main difference relies on who inspects the skin slides. With the Mohs procedure, the doctor reads his own findings. This can cause an inherent bias with the results. However, Dr. Lee uses a pathologist to review his skin slides. This ensures no bias in the reading of the slides, which is known as the frozen section technique.
During skin cancer surgery, Dr. Lee will typically utilize local anesthetics to numb the affected area before incisions are made to start removal. A board-certified dermatopathologist will also be present to verify that all of the cancer is removed. The incisions made can be compared to a map (similar to a clock face) and is created to correspond with the orientation of their skin that was removed. The removed layer is frozen, processed, and examined under the microscope. If additional cancer roots are observed, they are marked on the corresponding map and the process is repeated, excising another layer from the area. The process continues until a clean layer with no remaining cancer is achieved. The number of layers removed and the length of the procedure is dependent upon the stage of cancer and the length of time it has been present. Completion of the procedure will leave a wound. Healing solutions range from simple sutures to close the wound to more complex reconstructive (plastic) surgery for larger wounds.
What to Expect
A Frozen Section or Mohs procedure is not a simple solution, but with a skilled team and the suitable amount of anesthesia, most patients report minor discomfort. This surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, with patients retaining their ability to drive themselves home afterward. Although the site will be heavily bandaged, it is possible to resume routine non-strenuous activities the next day. This rules out strenuous exercise or heavy activities for up to 1 – 2 weeks. If sutures were utilized, they will be removed within 6 – 14 days. Scarring will vary depending on the procedure. However, the success rate of removing the cancerous tissue from the site is very high with primary basal cell carcinoma and with thin melanomas receiving up to a 99% cure rate. Primary squamous cell carcinoma has a slightly lower cure rate around 97%.
Plan Your Procedure
Seek Superior Care
When facing a skin cancer diagnosis, it is crucial to do your research and find a trained surgeon who is a good fit for your expectations and needs. Success rates of the procedure are directly correlated to your doctor's skill and experience. To learn more about his experience, training, and personal success rates, call Lee Plastic Surgery and Laser Center now and schedule a consultation. We serve patients from all over the area, including, Port St. Lucie, Jupiter, Vero Beach, Palm City, and Stuart, FL.