Due to his experience and training that has focused on facial aesthetics, Dr. Thompson is a Utah plastic surgeon who is trusted by his patients and his peers. Area dermatologists work side-by-side with our practice on cases in which skin cancer removal requires reconstruction. While we do not perform the surgical excision of skin cancers, we do have direct experience with such cases and find it beneficial to provide information regarding effective treatment options with our patients. Here, we want to discuss the value of Mohs micrographic surgery for patients with visible skin cancers, such as those on the face.
More than anything, what patients want to know first after hearing that they have skin cancer is that treatment is available. More specifically, that treatment will be appropriate and successful. This becomes even more pressing when the skin cancer is in a visible location. In such instances, the Mohs excision technique may make the most sense.
Mohs is a highly specialized procedure that requires extensive training. The meticulous micrographic surgical technique was initially developed several decades ago. Today, it is more or less considered the top-shelf treatment due to a consistent success rate. Let’s look more closely at this detail.
Conventional Skin Cancer Treatment vs. Mohs
Standard excision is a guessing game, to some extent. A surgeon makes an estimate of where the margins of a skin cancer lesion begin, and where they end. To maximize the chances of success, standard excision removes not only the visible lesion but also a small percentage of tissue around it. Still, the laboratory examination of tissue inspects only about 3% of the margins of that lesion. Clearly, there is a relatively good chance for error.
Mohs micrographic surgery is a step-by-step process. It’s lengthy, but it’s worth it. During the surgery, tissue is not removed in one fell swoop; it is removed in layers. After one layer is removed, it is analyzed under a microscope. Every margin, to the fullest extent, is examined by repeating the removal and microscopic analysis steps. According to statistics, the success rate of Mohs is consistently above the 95-percentile.
The Matter of Reconstruction
Because one of the benefits of Mohs is significant tissue preservation, patients may perceive that they will not need reconstruction after this procedure. Sometimes, reconstruction is necessary. When it is, though, we have the greatest extent of healthy tissue to work with.
If you would like to know more about reconstruction following Mohs surgery, or any other skin cancer surgery, contact one of our Utah plastic surgery offices.