Harris Dermatology was one of the first dermatologists to bring Mohs Surgery to Southwest Florida. We are trained and proficient in this method for the treatment and removal of skin cancer. Mohs is a surgical technique that has stood the test of time. Developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs micrographic surgery has few refinements, come to be embraced over the past decade by an increasing number of surgeons for an ever-widening variety of skin cancers.
Today, Mohs surgery has come to be accepted as the single most effective technique for removing Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (BCCs and SCCs), the two most common skin cancers. It accomplishes the nifty trick of sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue while also most completely expunging cancer cells; cure rates for BCC and SCC are an unparalleled 98 percent or higher with Mohs, significantly better than the rates for standard excision or any other accepted method.
How does it work?
- The Mohs surgeon marks the area to be treated and removes the visible cancer, along with a sliver of additional tissue. While the patient waits, the removed tissue is carefully marked creating a Mohs “map.” A technician prepares the specimen for the surgeon to examine it under a microscope.
- This careful inspection reveals any hidden microscopic “roots” of skin cancers. If remaining cancer is found, the surgeon can use the map to locate and remove hidden cancerous roots from the patient. This part of the procedure is repeated as many times as necessary to remove all parts of the skin cancer, seen and unseen.
- Usually the entire procedure takes fewer than four hours, depending on the hidden extent of the cancer. Most insurance policies cover this method of treatment.
- Afterwards, there is minimal discomfort. Generally the area heals naturally with little or no scarring. In rare cases, some scar repair may be desired. Side effects are unusual.
- Mohs surgery should only be performed by a specially trained Mohs surgeon. At Harris Dermatology Mohs surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in our offices, only a local anesthetic is needed. Most patients report minimal discomfort and enjoy the convenience of onsite care from our Mohs surgical specialist.