A diagnosis of skin cancer can be frightening, particularly if it occurs on your face. A special surgical technique called Mohs Surgery is an effective method for treating many types of facial skin cancers.
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is an advanced treatment for skin cancer that offers the highest possible cure rates, 99-99.9%, for skin cancers while simultaneously minimizing the removal of healthy tissue. This cutting-edge treatment requires highly specialized physicians such as Dr. Srivastava that serve as surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon.
The microscopic analysis of resected tissue allows the surgeon to track the removal of the cancer and ensure the complete elimination of all tumor roots. As tumors often extend below intact normal skin (like the roots of a tree) this procedure allows the surgeon to see beyond the visible tumor to ensure its complete removal. It is the only skin cancer treatment that checks 100% of all the margins to ensure complete removal of the tumor. Other treatments examine no more than 0.1% of the margins, leading to greater recurrences and additional treatments.
The cure rates for Mohs Micrographic Surgery approach 99% for most primary (untreated) cancers with a slightly lower cure rate for secondary or recurrent (previously treated) cancers. This highly specialized procedure preserves the greatest amount of normal tissue and provides the foundation for the best skin reconstructions while limiting scarring or permanent disfigurement.
Mohs micrographic surgery is the most effective method known for the removal of non-melanotic skin cancer (basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, sebaceous carcinoma, Extramammary Paget’s disease, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, etc.) throughout the world.
Why is Mohs Surgery Important?
Skin cancers often send out slender strands of malignant cells into the surrounding normal tissue. In the past, surgeons would routinely remove or irradiate an extra margin of healthy tissue in the hope of eliminating all of the malignancy. But the cancer often would recur because of microscopic cells that were left behind.
The procedure is used to treat several different types of skin cancers, particularly recurring cancers and those that occur in what physicians call the “H” zone of the face – the nose and eyelids, the area around the ears and the temple areas. In these areas, it is essential to preserve as much tissue as possible so that cosmetically appealing results can be achieved.
Where is Surgery Performed?
Our Mohs laboratory is located at the SelectSkinMD office.
The Surgical Team
Dr. Srivastava is trained in the Mohs technique and in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. She is assisted by a laboratory technician who is skilled in preparing the necessary microscope slides. Several specialty trained nurses complete the surgical staff.
There are potential risks with any surgery, but Mohs surgery is considered quite safe. Infection, bleeding, and bruising are possible risks, but rare. At times, the wound may be larger than anticipated or further surgery may be required to revise the scar. Recurrence of the cancer is relatively rare. Mohs surgery has a cure rate of 95 – 99 percent.
Preparing for Your Surgery