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Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is considered the most precise and successful skin cancer treatment available today. Mohs surgery or Mohs micrographic surgery is the only surgical procedure for skin cancer treatment that ensures the most complete removal of all cancerous cells from the skin while preserving maximum healthy skin and tissue. 

At the Warmuth Institute of Dermatology (a part of Schweiger Dermatology Group), Dr. Warmuth is a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs micrographic surgeon. A Mohs surgeon removes the cancerous tissue, analyzes the lab specimens, and closes or reconstructs the wound. 

When Mohs Surgery is Indicated 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), one in five Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime. Mohs surgery is the recommended skin cancer treatment when a basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma

  • Is large or aggressive
  • Appears in an area with little tissue beneath it (e.g., eyelid, nose, ear, scalp, genitals, hand, or foot)
  • Was treated and has returned

Sometimes Mohs surgery is also recommended for patients with early-stage melanoma. 

How Mohs Surgery Works

Mohs surgery is performed in stages to ensure the complete removal of cancer cells. The process is as follows:

  • Dr. Warmuth examines the area to be treated and marks the spot with a pen. 
  • You are prepped for surgery and given a local anesthetic to numb the area. Since you are awake during the procedure, Dr. Warmuth will talk you through the process.
  • Dr. Warmuth uses a scalpel to remove a thin layer of visible cancerous tissue, and a thin layer of surrounding skin.
  • The wound is cauterized and a bandage is placed over the wound and you wait in the waiting room for the lab results.
  • While you wait, the skin sample is processed in the lab and studied under a microscope to see if cancer has spread beyond the visible growth.
  • If cancer cells are seen in surrounding tissue, you return to surgery, and more layers of skin are removed for further microscopic examination. 
  • This process may be completed multiple times until all margins are cleared of cancer cells.
  • Once all margins are cleared, the wound is either bandaged, closed with stitches, or with a skin graft--it all depends on the size and location of the wound. 

Recovery from Mohs Surgery

After surgery, you may experience some localized pain, tenderness, and swelling. You may also experience some temporary bleeding from the wound. This is all normal. 

Initially, pain medication is recommended for a couple of days after the procedure and then Dr. Warmuth will have you take a combination of ibuprofen and acetaminophen (Tylenol) to control any further pain and swelling. Dr. Warmuth also recommends icing the surgical site to help reduce pain and swelling in addition.

Wound care is also a very important part of recovery. Dr. Warmuth will advise you on how to take care of the wound to keep it clean and prevent infection. 

Before you leave the surgery center, Dr. Warmuth’s staff will schedule a follow-up visit with you to see how you are healing. The appointment is usually scheduled within 7 to 10 days after surgery.

Effectiveness of Mohs Surgery 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Mohs surgery is considered to have the highest cure rate:

  • Up to 98% for skin cancer that has not been treated before
  • Up to 94% for skin cancer that has recurred after previous treatment

Mohs surgery ensures precise results. It is the only type of skin cancer treatment that preserves the maximum amount of healthy tissue. 

Benefits of Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery offers several benefits to patients:

  • It is efficient and cost-effective.
    • Single Visit, Outpatient Surgery
    • Local Anesthesia
    • Lab Work Done On-Site
  • It offers precise, immediate results, spares healthy tissue, and leaves the smallest possible scar. 
  • It can be safely performed in a medical office. 

Mohs Surgeon in Elmer, NJ

If you have been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and are looking for a Mohs surgeon to handle your skin cancer treatment, please call Warmuth Institute of Dermatology (a part of Schweiger Dermatology Group) at (856) 358-1500 to schedule an appointment. 

Mohs Surgery FAQs

Is Mohs surgery painful?

During the procedure, you are given local anesthesia to numb the treatment area. Once the area is numb, you will not feel any pain during the procedure. However, after the procedure when the anesthesia wears off, it is normal to feel some discomfort and/or pain while the wound heals. Your doctor will recommend appropriate medication to deal with any pain. 

How long does the procedure take?

Generally, Mohs surgery can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, but sometimes longer. It often depends on the size and location of the skin cancer, and how many rounds are needed to eradicate skin cancer cells. 

Does Mohs surgery leave a scar?

Mohs surgery can leave a scar. Once the procedure is complete, the wound is closed. Small wounds may only need a bandage, but if the wound is too large for a bandage or to stitch close, a skin graft may be performed as a reconstructive solution. It is important to note that some amount of scarring is inevitable. 

What are the risks of Mohs surgery?

In some cases of skin cancer, there may be nerve damage due to the cancer and its removal. It is also possible to experience permanent numbness in the treated area.

Can the cancer return after Mohs surgery?

While results show that recurrence of skin cancer after Mohs surgery is quite rare, you are at a higher risk of getting another skin cancer. It is, therefore, recommended that you set up regular skin cancer screening appointments with Dr. Warmuth and her associates for early detection.

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