A skin cancer diagnosis sends most patients reeling. They think of all the times they didn’t wear sunscreen and look back on the sunburns they’ve had with regret. The future often looks far less bright. Nonetheless, most of them feel hope begin to return when their dermatologist tells them about Mohs Surgery.
The truth is that most skin cancer is highly treatable, especially when it’s caught early. That’s why regular visits to your dermatologist and self-exams are so vital to a person’s overall well-being. This makes it possible for your doctor to make a skin cancer diagnosis at the first sign of a problem. Any skin cancer treatment is most effective when it is used in the early stages of the disease.
Your dermatologist has several options when it comes to treating skin cancer. Nonetheless, you’re likely to hear a recommendation in favor of Mohs Surgery. When you hear that the success rate of this treatment method is approaching 99 percent, you’ll begin to understand why.
Quite simply, Mohs Surgery is more precise than any other skin cancer treatment method. Your dermatologist can use it on lesions of any size, and may recommend it as a course of action against a recurrence of the disease because Mohs Surgery is often able to succeed where other methods fail.
What makes Mohs Surgery so much more successful than other treatments? There are a number of factors that actually set it apart from other methods. One of these is the ability to test removed tissue in the midst of the procedure. Another is the precise, layer-by-layer technique that the method requires. This skin cancer treatment also minimizes scarring. When you understand these advantages, you’ll begin to see why your dermatologist might recommend Mohs Surgery over other treatments.
Other treatments for skin cancer require the doctor to remove as much tissue as they believe is affected by cancer cells. The wound is then closed and the removed tissue is later tested. If the doctor discovers that some cancerous tissue may not have been removed in the original treatment, it’s necessary for the patient to return at a later date to undergo the procedure again. This process can take days or weeks.
Mohs Surgery is different because each time the dermatologist removes tissue it is immediately tested in an on-site, state-of-the-art laboratory. Within minutes, the doctor knows whether or not clear margins have been achieved. It may be necessary to remove additional tissue, but this is done in the course of a single day and in just one treatment session. This minimizes patient discomfort and maximizes positive outcomes.
This surgical technique is also extraordinarily precise. Dermatologists remove affected tissue one layer at a time. This makes it possible to preserve a maximum amount of healthy tissue while still being certain that all cancerous cells are removed. It’s always beneficial for patients to retain as much healthy tissue as possible as this speeds the healing process and minimizes the risks of scarring.
Dermatologists who use this technique undergo specialized, intensive training that includes a number of closure and reconstruction techniques that result in a minimal amount of scarring. The dermatologist decides the best method for closing the wound when it is obvious that clear margins have been achieved. With a skill that rivals that of a plastic surgeon, these specially trained dermatologists are generally able to close the wound so carefully that there may be no permanent scar. However, when the wound is particularly large or deep, your dermatologist may have you follow up with a plastic surgeon for reconstruction.
The precision of the procedure, its success rate and the minimal chances of scarring make Mohs surgery the top choice of many dermatologists for treating sensitive or highly visible areas of the body such as the face. However, the technique is used on other parts of the body as well. Your dermatologist will consider the placement of the lesion as well as its size and type before recommending any treatment.
Skin cancer has the potential to be a deadly disease. When it is diagnosed and treated early, it is highly treatable, making regular visits to the dermatologist a necessity. Thanks to Mohs Surgery and other available treatments, dermatologists are often able to treat skin cancer. Call today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Mohs micrographic surgeon.