Mohs Surgery, a highly specialized and precise technique developed by Dr. Frederic E. Mohs in the 1930s, remains a potent approach for tackling skin cancer. This surgical procedure is particularly adept at removing skin cancers while safeguarding surrounding healthy tissue. It entails the gradual removal of thin layers of affected tissue until every trace of cancerous cells is eradicated, rendering it one of the most effective treatments for specific skin cancers. Given its remarkable success rate, it comes as no surprise that dermatologists frequently recommend it for treating such conditions.
Defining Mohs Surgery
Mohs Surgery stands out as a specialized surgical method employed in the treatment of skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It excels in excising visible cancerous tissue while preserving the integrity of healthy tissue, minimizing scarring, and maximizing cosmetic outcomes. Dr. Frederic Mohs introduced this technique in the 1930s, and it has since become a cornerstone of dermatologic surgery for addressing skin cancers.
The procedure initiates with local anaesthesia administered to numb the affected skin area. Subsequently, the cancerous tissue is delicately excised using a scalpel or curette. In certain cases, lidocaine injections may be employed to numb the surrounding skin, although this is contingent on the lesion’s size and location. The excised specimen is then methodically sectioned into thin layers, which are scrutinized under a microscope to identify any remaining cancerous cells, known as tumour “roots.” These roots, sometimes extending beyond visible detection, necessitate further excision until all tumour cells are eliminated within the skin layer.
Advantages of Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery has garnered widespread popularity for its high success rate and minimal scarring risk. The acronym “Mohs” signifies “microscopically controlled surgery,” which aptly describes the process of removing skin layers one at a time until all cancerous tissue is gone. This staged approach enables precise identification and removal of any residual cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. The benefits of Mohs surgery are as follows:
High Cure Rate: Mohs surgery boasts an exceptional cure rate, with up to a 99% success rate in specific cases, significantly reducing the risk of recurrence.
Minimally Invasive: The procedure’s minimally invasive nature, involving the removal of small skin portions in each stage, leads to reduced pain, scarring, and quicker recovery times compared to traditional treatments.
Preservation of Healthy Tissue: This procedure excels in pinpointing and eliminating remaining cancer cells while preserving the adjacent healthy tissue, a feat beyond the reach of conventional surgeries.
Applicability to Skin Cancer Types
The Mohs surgery technique proves highly effective in treating various skin cancers, with certain types being particularly suitable. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most prevalent skin cancer type, frequently occurs in sun-exposed areas like the face, neck, ears, and shoulders. Its slow growth and localized nature make it an ideal candidate for Mohs surgery, as it permits selective removal without affecting healthy tissue.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), another common skin cancer variety, often manifests as red or scaly patches in sun-exposed areas such as the ears and lips. Mohs surgery is an appropriate choice for SCC due to its ability to precisely target and remove the cancerous tissue.
In essence, Mohs surgery stands as a remarkable method for effectively combating skin cancer while preserving the patient’s well-being and cosmetic appearance.