Understanding How Mohs Surgery Can Help You

Understanding How Mohs Surgery Can Help You

You should know two things about skin cancer: It’s very common — about one in five Americans will develop it by age 70 — and it’s highly treatable. With the latest treatment options available today, most people can continue on to lead healthy lives after a skin cancer diagnosis. 

Here at A to Z Dermatology, our team — Jayshri Gamoth, MD, Joyce Kate Forest, MD, Nohe Sebhatu, NP, Suzanne O'Rourke, DNP, and Havilah Dodd, PA-C — offers Mohs surgery because it’s an extremely effective and minimally invasive way to treat skin cancer. We offer this treatment at our offices in Mesa, Sun City, Casa Grande, Gold Canyon, and Chandler, Arizona.

How Mohs surgery works

Dr. Frederic Mohs invented the Mohs surgical method in the 1930s. Forty years later, Perry Robins, MD, a New York dermatologist, and others brought it into widespread use. Today, it’s considered the gold standard in skin cancer treatment.  

After a skin cancer diagnosis, your surgeon can use the Mohs procedure to remove one layer of tissue at a time. Then, we examine it under a microscope for signs of cancer and repeat the process until only healthy cells remain. 

Today, we use Mohs surgery to treat skin cancers in even the most delicate areas. The procedure is particularly useful for cancers with a high risk of returning and those with a large area or uncertain border. 

Since our team performs this surgery in stages and receives onsite lab results immediately, we can monitor exactly how much skin to remove while preserving healthy tissue at the same time.

So you can know what to expect during your procedure, we’ve outlined the steps here:

Once the affected area screens clear of cancer cells, your surgeon closes the wound with stitches.

The benefits of Mohs surgery

We can treat both high-risk and larger skin cancer sites using Mohs surgery. We can treat early-stage melanoma with this procedure along with nonmelanoma skin cancers, including two of the most common types: basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. 

In addition to delivering an extremely effective treatment option, Mohs surgery enables us to precisely gauge how much skin to remove. As a result, this approach has a higher success rate and often reduces the need for additional surgeries while minimizing damage to healthy tissue.

Before and after Mohs surgery

We perform Mohs surgery on an outpatient basis right in our offices. 

Before your surgery, we discuss the supplements and/or medications you take to determine which you should stop using in the days surrounding your surgery.

Because it may require us to test multiple samples, Mohs surgery can take all day. Wear comfortable clothing to your appointment and bring something to read while waiting for the pathology results.

Once the treated area is cleared, we stitch the wound closed. If it requires it, we can also take a skin graft to apply to the area.

It can take 4-6 weeks for your wound to heal completely. Our team provides you with detailed instructions to guide you through the recovery process.

Even after a successful Mohs procedure, it’s important to continually monitor your skin for any changes. People who have had skin cancer have higher risks of getting it again compared to those who never had a problem. We offer regular skin cancer screenings to help you stay healthy. 

If you have any questions about Mohs surgery or you’re ready to schedule your appointment,  call the office nearest you or book your appointment online today. 

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