About Surgery for Skin Cancer
“Mohs Surgery” is an effective way to remove most skin cancers – one skin layer at a time. Some facts you need to know about skin cancer surgery:
- Mohs Surgery is conveniently performed in our offices
- Uses just a local numbing agent (anesthetic)
- After each layer of skin is removed, it is examined under the microscope to determine whether any residual cancer remains
- The goal of Mohs Surgery is to eliminate the “roots” of the skin cancer, which can cause a recurrence if not removed completely
- Success rates are as high as 99%
What to Expect with Skin Cancer Surgery
Be prepared to spend at least half the day at the office because removal and preparation of each skin layer can take 20 to 60 minutes.
We’ll apply a local anesthetic to minimize any discomfort.
A precise area of skin is removed. The average patient requires 2-3 layers for complete removal
A dressing (bandage) will be applied after the first layer is removed and you’ll sit in the waiting room while we process the skin.
Once all the skin cancer cells are removed, the area is repaired, usually with stiches.
Most people have little to no pain after Mohs Surgery.
- Processing includes color-coding each layer with special dyes, freezing the skin, and examining under a microscope
Seeing us for skin cancer surgery? Download full instructions for surgery
About Removal of Moles, Cysts and Lipomas (fatty tissue growths)
It is important to have all skin growths evaluated by the dermatologist. Changes in your skin, like when a mole changes color or shape, may be a signs of a serious condition such as skin cancer .
- Once we determine the mole, cyst or lipoma (fatty tissue growth) are not signs of a more serious condition, you may want to have them removed
- This can be done easily and virtually painlessly in our office
What to Expect with Removal of Moles, Cysts, and Lipomas
Every effort is made to minimize any scarring so there is no sign of the previous mole, cyst or lipoma. Removal techniques vary by the type of skin growth:
- Moles can be removed by 1 of 2 techniques:
- Surgical excision (cutting)
- Surgical shaving
- Never try to “shave off” a mole at home; this could put you at risk for infection and scarring
- Cysts and lipomas are generally removed through excision (cutting)