How Mohs Surgery Differs From Other Cancer Treatments

November 2, 2012

A basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) diagnosis can be a very frightening time, and one where you have many questions—the first of which is often determining what options are available for treatment. Fortunately there are many skin cancer treatment options, and you can work with your doctor to determine which is right for you. One care option that offers a high success rate is Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Here is a brief overview of how it compares to other treatments.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is designed to microscopically identify and target the cancer cells, then remove them, along with any “roots” that may still be in the skin and could cause recurrence in the future. Because it is so precisely targeted, it is a great option to prevent future cancer from growing without removing extensive portions of the skin in cosmetically sensitive areas. The precise discovery and removal of all cancer cells also makes it an advantageous treatment for tumors that do not have clearly defined borders.

Tumor Removal

Treatment methods such as excision, Mohs surgery, electrodessication and curettage are all methods where the tumor is surgically removed from the skin. With excision, the tumor and a considerable portion of the surrounding tissue are removed, which can be less desirable for cosmetic reasons. In the case of electrodessication and curettage, the tumor is scraped away using a sharp curette, and the lesion base is destroyed.

With Mohs surgery, a local anesthesia is used and the surgeon removes the tumor in layers. Each layer is examined to detect additional tumor in deeper tissues, and more may be removed, but only areas where there is evidence of a tumor. This targeted approach preserves the cosmetic appearance while also effectively removing any traces of the cancer cells.

For certain types of cancer, the advantages of Mohs surgery can be tremendously beneficial, removing virtually all of the tumor with very little chance it will grow back while simultaneously limiting the amount of skin and other healthy tissues lost. Contact Dr. Gross today to find out if Mohs surgery is available as a treatment option for you.