I performed Mohs surgery and then did a skin graft on this patient. She had basal cell cancer on her ear.
Mohs surgery is a precise technique to remove skin cancers layer by layer resulting in a higher cure rate than standard excision or radiation therapy.
For example, basal cell carcinomas have a 97 to 99% cure rate.
Mohs also allows me to limit the size of removal and conserve normal skin to minimize scarring. After removal, I treat the wound in a manner to promote good healing and preserve cosmetic results.
The Mohs procedure can be as short as one hour as in the case of this patient, or it can take several hours depending on the number of layers and type of repair, like a skin graft. This patient’s skin graft took an additional hour.
I became very interested in Mohs during my residency and training at the University of Miami, and then later during my dermatopathology fellowship at Roger Williams Hospital at Boston University. A dermatopathologist diagnoses skin disorders under a microscope.
Removing a tumor and examining the tissue immediately after removal was a natural for me because of my sub-specialty as a dermatopathologist.
Designed by Frederic E. Mohs, M.D., the surgery excises not only the visible tumor but also any “roots” that may have extended beneath the surface of the skin.
This procedure is most commonly used for the treatment of basal and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common types of skin cancer, although it can also be used to treat melanoma and other types of cancer.
Mohs surgery is often recommended for recurring cancer because its results are so thorough.
It is ideal for treating cancer in cosmetically and functionally prominent areas such as the nose, eyelids, lips, hairline, ears, hands and feet.
Compared to other skin cancer treatments, Mohs surgery has a very high success rate. As I mentioned, basal cell carcinomas have a 97 to 99% cure rate, while squamous cell carcinomas are cured 94% of the time.