Mohs Surgery (cont.)
Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD
Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- What is Mohs surgery?
- Why is the procedure called Mohs?
- Where can I have Mohs surgery, and how long does the surgery take?
- What kind of physician can perform Mohs surgery? Where can I find a doctor board-certified in Mohs?
- Is Mohs only for skin cancer?
- Am I a good candidate for Mohs surgery?
- What if I have artificial joints or other health issues?
- What areas are treatable by Mohs surgery?
- What are possible complications of Mohs?
- What is reconstruction? Will I have a scar after Mohs surgery?
- What about insurance coverage and costs of Mohs surgery?
- What are alternatives for Mohs surgery?
- How do I prepare for my Mohs surgery?
- What is the recovery time for Mohs surgery? Is Mohs painful?
- How do I take care of my surgical area after Mohs surgery?
- What is the chance that my cancer will recur after Mohs surgery?
- How many "levels" of Mohs surgery will I need?
- How are skin cancers treated?
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What is reconstruction? Will I have a scar after Mohs surgery?
Reconstruction is repairing or fixing the wound produced after removal of the malignant skin tumor. This procedure is not different than any treatment performed after any conventional surgical procedure performed on skin. Repairing or closing the wound may involve having your surgeon stitch the wound closed side by side. Sometimes an area may heal best by letting the wound heal by itself naturally without stitches. Additional reconstruction options include using a skin graft or moving a flap of skin. Shared decision-making is very important with this issue, and it can help if you are involved by reviewing how you prefer to repair the wound.
The main goal with Mohs surgery is to remove the skin cancer in its entirety. Once the cancer is removed, then your surgeon will look at options of how to best repair the wound producing the optimum cosmetic result. The goal of MMS is to clear skin cancer, achieve the smallest scar, and preserve the maximum amount of normal tissue. Since all MMS procedures produce scars it may be necessary to consider options like lasers, scar creams and gels, and cortisone injections depending on the healing process. However, do not expect these treatments to completely remove the scar.
In summary, there are two parts of the procedure. The first part is the removal of the entire tumor by cutting out and examining horizontal stained frozen sections of tissue. The second portion of the procedure is the repair of the wound. Depending on a variety of factors, the wound could be reconstructed by the physician who performed the original MMS procedure, by a second surgeon (plastic or ENT), or the wound could be allowed to heal on its own (secondary intention).
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