At least one in five Americans will have a basal cell carcinoma at some point in their lives. Skin cancer is common, dangerous, and visible. It is not a problem to take lightly. When skin cancer is diagnosed and treated early, the prognosis is good for most cancers. Patients near Mill Basin, NY can turn to Dr. Tatiana Khrom and the team at Khrom Dermatology & Aesthetics for skin cancer treatment including Mohs surgery.
What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery was developed by general surgeon Frederic E. Mohs in 1938. Mohs surgery is a microscopically controlled procedure for skin cancer treatment. Tissue is removed a layer at a time. Each layer is examined separately under a microscope to look for cancer cells. If dangerous cells are detected, the next layer of tissue is removed. This process is repeated as often as necessary until the tissue comes back clear. The Mohs surgeon removes only the necessary tissue using small margins. More healthy tissue is preserved with this method. The procedure is a safe, efficient way to excise only the cancerous tissue.
Mohs surgery is often the preferred treatment when skin cancer is present in a high-risk area where there is little extra skin. These areas include the ears, face, hands, feet, and genitalia. This procedure allows for skin cancer removal while keeping more healthy skin intact. This is crucial in areas where skin preservation is necessary. Mohs surgery has a 97-99 percent cure rate and is a successful skin cancer treatment.
Is Mohs surgery safe?
The word “surgery” brings fears of safety, scars, and recovery for many people. Mohs surgery is a safe, efficient, highly effective procedure. It has the lowest recurrence rates, high cure rates, and the best cosmetic reconstruction results. This makes it a good option for treating skin cancer in high-risk area. The precise treatment is only done by a formally trained Mohs surgeon. It is an effective treatment method for nonmelanoma skin cancers as well as certain forms of melanoma as well.
Traditional surgical excision of skin cancer involves removing a tissue sample and sending it to an off-site laboratory for pathology results. Patients wait days for the results and hope the entire cancer has been removed. If the margins do not come back clear, the patient must undergo another procedure. With Mohs surgery, the lab testing is performed on-site. Patients have the peace of mind knowing the entire removal has been successfully cleared in a single visit. Mohs surgery also has the highest cure rate of any skin cancer treatment. Other procedures comes with the risk of the cancer recurring due to undetected growth under the skin’s surface.
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Safe, efficient procedure
For patients who have skin cancer in one of the high-risk areas, a dermatologist may suggest Mohs micrographic surgery. The procedure involves four steps.
- Surgical excision of tissue
- Mapping out the tissue and freezing, cutting, and staining it
- Microscopic analysis of the sample
- Possible reconstruction of the area
This procedure is performed using a local anesthetic and a small scalpel. During the first excision, only the visible cancer is removed using minimal margins. General excisions are done with 4-6mm margins. With Mohs surgery, the margins are 1-1.5mm to preserve the healthy tissue. This first layer of tissue is excised, mapped out, and evaluated to determine if the margins are negative.
In some cases, the patient is lucky enough to have the entire tumor removed in a single pass. However, if there is cancer remaining in any section, the next layer of tissue is removed but only in the area where the tumor remains. The areas where the margins were clear will not have any more tissue removed. The layer is again mapped and evaluated. The same steps are repeated as necessary until all margins are free of the cancer. The surgical site is closed and cosmetic reconstruction is done in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Skin cancer can often be treated easily with early diagnosis. Check your skin monthly and see a board-certified dermatologist if you notice any new or changing spots on your skin. Mill Basin, NY patients can contact Khrom Dermatology & Aesthetics at the primary location in Brooklyn by calling 718-751-0674. The practice has three locations in and around the New York area.