If you've been diagnosed with skin cancer, you may have a lot of questions. You're probably wondering what your treatment options are. Luckily, if skin cancer is caught early, most patients fully recover with minimal complications. In many cases, surgery is the recommended course of action for treating skin cancer. There are a few different types of skin cancer surgery, but one of the most effective is Mohs surgery. Here are four things you should know about Mohs surgery:
1. Your doctor will remove all the cancer.
After you have Mohs surgery, you can return home with the assurance that all your cancer is completely gone. The worry with all types of skin cancer is that it can spread to the surrounding healthy tissue. That's why with Mohs surgery, your doctor will examine the tissue they remove as the surgery is being performed. This means your surgeon can keep removing small layers of skin until they're certain that they've removed all the cancerous tissue.
2. Your doctor can be more conservative during surgery.
With other types of excision surgery that do not rely on microscopic analysis during the procedure, your surgeon would have to be more aggressive. In these cases, they would remove a wide area of tissue around the cancerous region, in order to ensure they removed all of it. Since Mohs surgery allows your doctor to check for cancer as they work, they can remove the smallest amount of skin possible. This can lead to faster healing times and less scarring for you, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
3. Your doctor will perform Mohs surgery on an outpatient basis.
Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure, which means you won't have to stay in the hospital overnight. In most cases, your dermatologist can perform Mohs surgery right in their office. You'll be given local anesthesia before the surgery begins, which will help numb the affected area. You'll be alert the whole time and able to respond to your doctor's requests and directions. Many patients prefer local anesthetic, since it carries fewer risks than general anesthesia, and you'll be clear-headed and able to take yourself home after your surgery.
4. Your doctor can use it to treat melanoma.
Melanoma is one of the most dreaded types of skin cancer, thanks to its propensity for metastasizing in patients' bodies. While more aggressive treatments like radiation therapy are sometimes necessary if melanoma has spread into your lymph nodes, Mohs surgery can treat melanoma if it's caught early enough.