Up to one in five people will develop skin cancer, making skin cancer screening a vital part of maintaining your health. If screening does reveal skin cancer, your dermatologist may use Mohs surgery to remove it. This procedure disrupts less healthy tissue while effectively removing cancer cells.
What is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery is a technique for removing skin cancer. Mohs surgery can treat basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and some melanomas. This treatment can provide complete removal of the cancer in most cases. Mohs works by removing and examining layers of skin. The layers are removed until the edges of the skin cancer are removed, along with a margin of healthy skin. As a result, Mohs surgery does not remove more skin than necessary for a smaller, less noticeable scar.
How Much Does Mohs Surgery Cost?
The cost of Mohs surgery depends on many factors. If you have insurance, factors include your deductible, copays, and other insurance plan aspects. If you do not have insurance, we can discuss an estimated cost. Each Mohs surgery is different; your dermatologist will not know exactly how many tissue layers they must remove and examine. A consultation will let your surgeon examine your skin cancer and develop a treatment plan. The cost will also depend on the complexity of the repair to make your skin heal and look its best post-surgery. This is dependent on the location and the size of the defect left after the cancer is removed.
What to Expect During Mohs Surgery
Mohs micrographic surgery begins with lidocaine to numb the area. Your surgeon will use a scalpel to remove a layer that may be as thin as less than one-sixteenth of an inch. This thin layer is examined under a microscope and used to guide the removal of the next layer. These thin layers leave a narrow margin of healthy skin to ensure the removal of all cancer cells.
This process continues until no cancer cells appear in the layers. At this point, most cancers have been removed and will not reoccur. By removing thin layers and checking them, your surgeon avoids removing more healthy tissues than necessary. Your surgeon completes the procedure when they no longer see cancer cells in the layers they examine.
What is Recovery Like After Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
You will have a bandage over the treatment area after surgery. Your post-treatment care depends on the size and depth of your skin cancer. In general, you will keep your wound clean and covered while it heals, which can take a few weeks. Ice packs can reduce swelling during the first few days after surgery.
Am I a Good Candidate for Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is not appropriate for all types of skin cancer. Large basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas may require a different treatment. Certain melanomas have the potential to become dangerous, so special procedures are used to remove them. Good candidates for Mohs have an appropriate form of skin cancer and want to preserve healthy skin.
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If you have further questions about Mohs surgery, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at Krauss Dermatology. Call us at (781) 416-3500 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to taking care of you.