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How Effective Is Mohs Surgery?

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, | The Office of Dr. Vincent Hung

2 Minute Read: 

Any cancer diagnosis can be disorienting and frightening. Over 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States. However, there is good news. Most cases of skin cancer are treatable, especially if they are caught early.

Stethoscope next to a clip board reading 'Mohs Surgery' on desk

When Is Mohs Surgery Recommended?

Mohs surgery is recommended for certain types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Other factors that make Mohs surgery the best option include aggressive or large cancers and cancers affecting areas with very little underlying tissue, such as the eyelids, noses, ear, scalp, genitals, hands, or feet. 

Previously treated cancers that reoccur may be eligible for Mohs surgery too.

What Happens During Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is a specialized technique for treating skin cancer, named for the surgeon who first developed it. The technique has evolved and improved over the years and is now considered one of the most advanced skin cancer treatments available.

The Mohs Surgery Procedure

A surgeon removes visually cancerous cells first, then carefully removes very thin layers of skin, one at a time. Each layer is examined to detect any sign of cancer. 

The person undergoing surgery is usually awake and alert, and the surgical site is numbed by anesthesia. 

Most procedures take place in a doctor’s office or clinic. The wound is bandaged after each layer of skin is removed while the surgeon examines the skin under a microscope. The procedure continues until no signs of skin cancer are present.

Surgical Goals

Surgeons undergo fellowship training in Mohs surgery to read slides of skin layers and coordinate microscopic results to the surgical site. The overarching goal of Mohs surgery is to minimize the risk of cancerous cells growing back while preserving as much healthy skin and tissue as possible.

How Is the Site Treated After Surgery?

The preservation of healthy tissue helps surgical sites heal quickly. Some sites don’t even need stitches. Other sites may need stitches, but the wound heals quickly. 

Sometimes the risk of scarring is greater if the surgical site is in a delicate area, such as under the eyes or around the nose and mouth.

Skin Grafts and Wound Care

Skin grafts may minimize scar tissue formation. People with large wounds may be placed under the supervision of surgeons that specialize in wound treatment. Specialized wound care may also be recommended for people with diabetes or other conditions that could complicate healing.

Interested in Learning More About Mohs Surgery?

You can contact Dr. Hung’s office in Pasadena at 626-432-5032 or the Newport Beach office at 949-574-8292 to learn more about Mohs Surgery and possible reconstruction options post-surgery. You can also fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.