Walnut Creek dermatologist explains Mohs surgery as a treatment for skin cancer
Skin cancer affects more than 3.3 million Americans each year. With such a high incidence rate, Dr. Christine Lee offers screenings, diagnosis, and a range of treatment options for skin cancer. Located in Walnut Creek, The Skin and Laser Treatment Center offers Mohs micrographic surgery as a treatment for skin cancer.
What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery was developed in 1938 by Frederic E. Mohs, a general surgeon. It is a microscopically controlled procedure to treat skin cancer. Layers of tissue are removed and examined separately to search for cancer cells. If found, the next layer of skin tissue is removed. The process continues until the cells are clear. Mohs surgery allows the surgeon to only remove the necessary amount of tissue.
Mohs surgery is generally used to treat skin cancer on the face, hands, feet, or genitals. In these areas, tissue preservation is crucial. Mohs surgeries have a high cure rate.
The Mohs process
There are four basic steps to a Mohs surgery:
- Surgical removal
- Mapping, freezing, cutting, and staining the tissue
- Microscopic analysis
- Possible reconstruction of the area
A Mohs surgery is generally performed under local anesthesia. A small scalpel is used to remove the visible cancer with minimal margins. General excisions of skin cancers remove a 4 to 6 mm margin. Moh’s margins are 1 to 1.5 mm, meaning less healthy tissue is excised. As each layer of tissue is removed, it is examined, with the surgeon acting as the pathologist. The top three steps are repeated as needed. Once the margins are clear, surgical closure or reconstruction can be performed.
To learn more about Mohs surgery and other skin cancer treatment options, contact Dr. Christine Lee. The staff at The Skin and Laser Treatment Institute is available to schedule your appointment at (925) 528-0117.