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What You Should Know About Mohs Surgery

Mohs Surgery for Skin CancerMohs micrographic surgery, an innovative surgical technique used to treat skin cancer, produces less scarring and helps your dermatologist ensure that no cancerous cells are left behind. Encinitas, CA, dermatologists Dr. David Thomas, Dr. Margaret Dupree, and Dr. William Burrows offer Mohs surgery at North County Dermatology Center.

How is Mohs micrographic surgery performed?

In the past, dermatologists needed to remove a large margin of healthy skin in an attempt to clear all of the cancerous cells. The technique often caused significant scarring that was quite noticeable.

Moh's micrographic surgery not only reduces scarring but also helps your Encinitas dermatologist ensure that he or she has removed all of the skin cancer. Your doctor begins the procedure by removing a single layer of the skin, then examining it under a microscope. If he or she sees cancerous cells, another layer will be removed and examined under the microscope. The process continues until there are no longer any signs of skin cancer. Removing the skin layer by layer minimizes the amount of scarring and also improves the cure rate for skin cancers.

Your skin will be numbed with a local anesthetic before the surgery begins to ensure that you feel no pain during the procedure. Small surgical sites usually don't require stitches, although you may need a few sutures if the site was large. Skin grafts may also be needed to improve the appearance of large sites.

Is Mohs surgery right for me?

Mohs surgery is frequently used to treat skin cancer of the hands, feet, head, face, neck, or genitals. It's most often recommended for squamous and basal cell skin cancers, although it can also be used to treat melanoma in some cases.

What can I expect during the recovery period?

Pain is minimal after Mohs surgery and can usually be controlled by taking over-the-counter pain medications. You may notice swelling, redness or itching following surgery. Your doctor may ask you to avoid showering or bathing for 24 hours after the procedure, as it's important to keep the wound dry. He or she will provide instructions that will help you care for your wound and minimize scarring.

Mohs micrographic surgery is an effective alternative to traditional skin cancer surgery. If you're concerned about a suspicious spot or a change in a mole, call Encinitas, CA, dermatologists Drs. David Thomas, Margaret Hobson Dupree, and William Burrows of North County Dermatology Center at (760) 230-2805 to schedule an appointment.

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