Is Mohs Surgery the Best Treatment for Melanoma Removal?

For Americans, skin cancer is the most common form of carcinoma. Out of the three main forms of skin cancer — basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma — melanoma is the worst. It affects deeper layers of skin instead of resting at the surface, as well as having the dangerous ability to spread to other areas in the body quickly.

Fortunately, melanoma is one of the rarest forms of skin cancer. There are several types of melanoma which have different warning signs and symptoms. Superficial spreading melanoma, lentigo maligna melanoma, acral lentiginous melanoma and nodular melanoma are the four main types of this rare form of skin cancer. An effective treatment to fight melanoma is Mohs micrographic surgery. It wasn’t always so effective, though. In its earlier times, Mohs surgery used to require a special chemical paste that would be applied to the skin. Due to the pain it would cause patients as well as sometimes taking days to complete the process, some surgeons refrained from using Mohs surgery. Now, surgeons simply apply local anesthetic and use microscopic excisions on cancerous cells. It is highly effective and less destructive to healthy tissue. The procedure can be completed in a day. Many dermatologists and skin cancer specialists in Los Angeles perform this surgery because of its strategic effectiveness at success.

At LA Laser Center our board-certified dermatologists and skin cancer surgeons specialize in Mohs micrographic surgery. We have the experience and skill necessary to remove such destructive and cancerous tissue before it spreads if our patient comes in as soon as possible. It is our effort to preserve as much healthy tissue as is possible and to ensure a healthy and pleasant appearance of the skin, after the removal occurs. Time is of the essence for such skin cancer treatments.

Steps During Mohs Micrographic Skin Cancer Removal Surgery

Unlike a few other surgical procedures for skin cancer, Mohs micrographic surgery is fast, effective, and easy to understand. Here are the four main stages which occur during Mohs Micrographic surgery which removes cancerous skin tissue.

Stage 1: Removing Cancerous Tissue

The surgeon who performs Mohs surgery removes any cancer that is visible on the skin’s surface. A thin layer of extra tissue is cut out as well. This stage of surgery is complete in just a few minutes.

Stage 2: Reviewing the Removed Tissue

The separated skin is cut into segments to help pinpoint the cancer’s location. It is then stained to highlight where the cancerous cells are, and marked on an elaborate diagram. The removed skin is subjected to freezing on a cryostat.

Outside layers are sliced away, then carefully placed on slides for further examination. Mohs map is used at this time to identify and label any cancerous tissue. If detected, all cancer cells are removed.

As you can see, stage 2 is the longest part of Mohs surgery. It can take more than an hour for the entire process to be completed. Fortunately, there will be less tissue to analyze after each repetition of the procedure.

Stage 3: Repeating Until Finished

Stages 1 and 2 are repeated until no cancerous tissue remains.

Stage 4: Repairing the Skin

The area that was operated on is now ready to begin its natural healing process.

Click here to learn more about skin cancer in general, mole screenings, the types of cancer, pre-cancerous lesions and the levels of risk associated with each.