Mohs Micrographic Surgery
The Mohs Micrographic Surgery technique combines surgical removal of the cancer with an immediate microscopic examination of the removed tissue to identify cancerous areas. Mohs surgery not only has the highest cure rate of all treatment methods, but it creates the smallest possible surgical defect, allowing for the best cosmetic results.
This procedure is state-of-the-art treatment in which the physician serves as surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon. Mohs Surgery relies on the accuracy of a microscope to trace and ensure removal of skin cancer down to its roots. This procedure allows dermatologists trained in Mohs Surgery like Dr. Paz, to see beyond the visible disease, and to precisely identify and remove the entire tumor, leaving healthy tissue intact unharmed. Mohs Surgery is most often used in treating two of the most commons forms of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.
Mohs surgery is an out-patient procedure performed under local anesthesia. The complete removal of the skin cancer and reconstruction can often be completed in a single day. Pre and post-operative instructions are posted on our website under the Patient Resources tab.
Surgical excision is used to treat all types of skin cancer. It offers results that are both medically and cosmetically excellent.
During the procedure, Dr. Paz will outline the tumor with a marking pen. A safety margin of healthy-looking tissue will be included, because it is not possible to determine with the naked eye how far microscopic strands of tumor may have extended. An extended line of excision is drawn, so the skin may be sewn back together.
The tissue sample will be sent to a lab, to see if any cancer cells appear in the safety margin excised. If cancer cells appear, it is assumed that the cancer is still present and additional surgery is required, typically Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
Dr. Paz will administer local anesthesia, and then cut along the lines that were drawn. The entire procedure takes about thirty minutes for smaller lesions. Wounds heal rapidly, usually in a week or two. Scarring depends on many factors, including the placement of the tumor and the patient’s care of the wound after the procedure.
Photodynamic therapy is a treatment that uses special drugs, called “photosensitizing agents,” along with light to kill precancerous cells. The drugs only work after they have been activated by certain kinds of light. Precancerous cells preferentially absorb photosensitizing agents. When light is applied, the photosensitizing agent combines with oxygen and forms a chemical that kills the cells. Photodynamic therapy is typically reserved for precancerous lesions.