Cynthia Golomb, MD of Dermatology Boutique in Hallandale Beach, FL is one of only a handful of dermatologists who is triple-board certified, including in Mohs surgery. Read her answers below to some of the most common questions about Mohs surgery, including pre-op preparation, the procedure, and post-op/recovery.
- What is Mohs surgery?
- What does Mohs surgery stand for?
- Does Mohs surgery require stitches?
- How long does Mohs surgery take?
- What type of skin cancer requires Mohs surgery?
- How long is recovery from Mohs surgery?
- How long after Mohs surgery do I need to wear a bandage?
- How much does Mohs surgery cost?
What is Mohs surgery?
With Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery, a skin cancer tumor is removed, and then thin tissue samples are processed and examined under a microscope until no more cancerous cells are found. This way, healthy skin is preserved. The goal is to leave the smallest scar or no scar at all.
Mohs is ideal for treating skin cancer in cosmetically and functionally sensitive areas such as the ears, nose, eyelids, lips, hairline, hands and feet.
During her Mohs surgeries, Dr. Golomb is also the pathologist looking at all the deep and peripheral edges of the tissue. This microscopic examination of all margins results in the highest cure rate as well as the conservation of skin to leave the smallest wound possible.
What does Mohs surgery stand for?
Mohs is the last name of the physician who created the surgery technique. 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. The medical term for the surgery is Micrographic Dermatologic Surgery. Learn more about the evolution of this surgery technique.
Does Mohs surgery require stitches?
Closing the surgical site will depend on how much tissue was removed. This can range from letting it heal naturally, to stitches, to a skin graft or a skin flap.
How long does Mohs surgery take?
The Mohs procedure can be as short as one hour, or it can take several hours depending on the number of layers and type of repair, like a skin graft. A recent patient with two cancerous lesions on his face took three hours. Part of the wait is for the microscopic analysis, removal of tissue until cancerous cells are not found and then closure and or repair of the surgical site.
What type of skin cancer requires Mohs surgery?
The Mohs procedure is most commonly used to treat 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.
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.
How long is recovery from Mohs surgery?
The surgery site will heal in a few weeks, and within a few months, it may be hard to tell where the lesion was removed.
How long do I wear a bandage after Mohs surgery?
A compression dressing is applied immediately after surgery. Within 48 hours, you or a family member can remove the thicker compression bandage. Dr. Golomb recommends keeping the wound moist with a Vaseline-type ointment and covering it with a smaller Band-Aid. You will remove your Band-Aid daily, reapply Vaseline and apply a new Band-Aid until your stitches are removed. Your follow-up appointment to remove stitches will generally be two weeks after your surgery.
How much does Mohs surgery cost?
The cost of the surgery depends on the complexity of removing the skin cancer and the number of tissue layers removed. The closure and repair of the surgical site is also factor in the cost, for example, repairs requiring more advanced procedures such as a skin graft or skin flap.
Your personal cost would depend on the percentage your plan requires you to pay; for example, many plans require the insured to pay 20%. An additional expense will be if you have not yet met your deductible at the time of surgery.
Learn more about Mohs surgery
To get more information on Mohs surgery and skin cancer, take a look at our recent blog posts. To schedule a Mohs surgery consultation and have further questions answered, call the office.
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