The first line of treatment for skin cancer is surgical removal of the cancerous or precancerous lesion. At SkinSmart Dermatology, we offer many surgical options including Mohs micrographic surgery, an advanced treatment for skin cancer. SkinSmart Dermatology has two fellowship trained Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Surgeons on staff. We are currently the only practice from Tampa to Port Charlotte with two fellowship-trained Mohs on staff.
What Does Surgical Dermatology Do?
Dermatologic surgery is performed to remove damaged tissue such as precancerous growths, skin cancer, and other lesions. A surgical procedure may involve mechanical technique, thermal energy, electromagnetic energy, or chemical energy. Simply put, your dermatologist may apply one of these techniques to address a significant dermatologic condition on your face or body. If you need dermatologic surgery, your doctor will provide you with detailed information regarding the technique they believe will be most advantageous for you. They will explain why, what the procedure involves, and what you can expect in terms of recovery and long-term outcome.
How is Mohs Micrographic Surgery Performed?
Mohs surgery is an office procedure that is performed using injections of local anesthetic. This form of anesthesia will completely numb the treatment area, so you can be assured of your comfort. The local anesthesia works very quickly. After the surgical area is numb, your surgeon will use a scalpel to carefully remove a thin, saucer-shaped layer of the cancerous tissue. The tissue is marked, frozen, colored, and placed on slides for microscopic examination. The skin is mapped in a precise manner that delineates the margins of cancer cells. The slides are then examined under a microscope to observe the number of cancer cells present. This part of the process, during which you will sit comfortably and relax with a book or other entertainment, can take about an hour. If cancer cells are seen throughout the tissue, the doctor will return to the surgical site to remove additional thin slices and examine them in the same way. This process continues until the microscopic examination comes back free of cancer cells. After removing all signs of cancer cells, the doctor may then perform reconstructive treatment to repair the surgical wound.
How Long Does Mohs Micrographic Surgery Take?
We typically instruct patients to schedule about eight hours for their Mohs procedure. The surgery may take only a few hours. However, we cannot predict exactly what the surgeon will find when they begin to remove layers of the affected skin. During your treatment planning, we can discuss what you should bring to your appointment to help you pass the time comfortably.
Will Surgical Dermatology Leave Scars?
In many cases, surgical treatment for skin conditions or even for existing scars will result in scarring. Any time the skin is cut or punctured, there is a risk of scarring. Knowing this, your dermatologist will perform dermatologic surgery using the most conservative and strategic techniques. For example, when possible, a dermatologist will make incisions where they can be hidden in natural creases. When this isn't possible, the most conservative incision techniques are used. Once your incisions have healed, your doctor can discuss scar reduction treatments that may be appropriate for you.
What Are The Side Effects of Mohs Surgery?
The side effects of Mohs surgery can vary on an individual basis. If you choose to undergo this procedure, your surgeon will discuss the side effects that you may encounter. These may include:
- Burning sensation
- Numbness or changes in skin sensation
The side effects of Mohs skin cancer surgery may be mild or they may be noticeable. They may last a few weeks or several months. It is difficult to determine exactly how your body will respond to this procedure. That said, we do our best to support you by providing the information that we do have and by outlining how to care for your surgical site as it heals. If you have questions about the side effects of your Mohs procedure, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Contact Us In Sarasota
If you need surgical dermatology to address skin cancer, please call us today at 941.308.7546 or reach out to us online to schedule an appointment.