Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Drs. Julie Neville and Paul Massey are fellowship-trained in Mohs micrographic surgery. Mohs surgery is a surgical technique performed at the Cheyenne Skin Clinic. It is up to 99% effective at eradicating basal and squamous cell carcinomas. Mohs surgery is designed to ensure all of the “roots” of your skin cancer are removed on the day of your procedure.
Thus, many skin cancer experts refer to Mohs surgery as the gold standard for skin cancer treatment in certain locations of the body, for example, the central face, eyelids/eyebrows, nose, lips, ears, eyelids, hands, feet and ankles. Skin cancers that have recurred after previous treatment are particularly appropriate candidates for Mohs surgery.
What occurs during the Mohs surgery?
During Mohs surgery, the surgeon preserves as much healthy skin as possible by removing the roots of the skin cancer in staged layers under local anesthesia. These layers are then tested in our on-site lab while you wait with us. The testing process is highly technical and involved, requiring specialized lab personnel who will deep freeze your tissue and make slides to allow Drs. Neville and Massey to determine under the microscope whether or not the tumor has been entirely removed. The waiting period for the testing process can take anywhere from 1-2 hours per layer. Most tumors are removed in 1 or 2 layers, but some with deeper “roots” may require more.
What occurs after the cancer is removed?
After the cancer is removed, your Mohs surgeon will discuss the reconstruction phase of the procedure with you. The goal of reconstruction is to allow the wound created by the tumor removal to heal as well as possible with the best cosmetic outcome. Most often, your surgeon will place a line of stitches in your skin to close the wound.
For deeper or larger wounds, your surgeon may perform a flap (movement of skin from one part of the body to another to cover the wound) or apply a graft (replacement of the wound with skin from another part of the body). As with any surgical procedure, there will always be a scar following skin cancer removal and reconstruction.
The “pros” of Mohs surgery:
Designed to ensure all of the “roots” of your skin cancer are removed on the day of your procedure
Achieving the lowest risk of cancer recurrence possible, particularly for cancers in certain locations of the body at higher risk for recurrence
Preserving the maximal amount of healthy tissue to create the smallest scar and optimal cosmetic outcome possible after skin cancer surgery
The “cons” of Mohs surgery:
Waiting in the office for results while your tissue is processed is time-consuming
In some instances, Mohs surgery can be more expensive than other types of skin cancer removal