Mohs Surgery: How It Works to Remove Cancerous Skin Cells

Mohs surgery, Dr. Evans Bailey, Naaman Clinic, American College of Mohs Surgery, Remove Cancerous Skin Cells

Mohs surgery has a cure rate of over 99% for new skin cancer and 94% for returning skin cancer. Needless to say, Mohs surgery is the gold standard when it comes to removing cancerous skin cells.

Of course, to achieve those high success rates, you need an experienced provider with specialized training. Dr. Evans Bailey at Naaman Clinic is a member of the American College of Mohs Surgery and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr. Bailey is regarded as a leader in Mohs surgery who works to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible.

What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is named after the American physician who developed the technique, a surgical procedure that involves extracting more than the visible problematic tissues.

Think of cancerous lesions like an iceberg. You see the tip above the water, but there’s much more underneath. Or, to use a different analogy, tumor cells tend to grow like tree roots, down and out, but these roots are only visible with a microscope. So, the tissue around the area must also be removed.

Removing skin cancer layer by layer

With Mohs surgery, skin cancer is removed layer by layer. After removing a tissue layer, Dr. Bailey marks the edges of the site with colored dyes to create a map of the specimen. The next step involves looking at the tissue under a microscope, so Dr. Bailey can precisely identify the cells and map out where the cancer is developing.

This process is repeated until all cancerous cells are successfully removed. Each stage of Mohs surgery takes about 30 minutes to an hour.

Am I a candidate for Mohs surgery?

The most common skin cancers are basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, and Mohs surgery is used to remove both. You also might be a good candidate for Mohs surgery if your skin cancer:

The procedure might also be used on some forms of melanoma and other, more unusual skin cancers.

What to expect with Mohs surgery

Mohs surgeons undergo fellowship training for a year beyond their dermatology residency to establish specialized experience in extracting cancerous tissues. Dr. Bailey is considered a leader in Mohs surgery, so know that you’re in good hands.

Before your procedure, it’s important that you follow Dr. Bailey’s instructions, which may include discontinuing certain medications or something as simple as wearing comfortable clothing.

Typically, patients only need local anesthetic for Mohs surgery procedures, which are performed at the Naaman Clinic. You’re awake during the procedure, but the surgery site is numbed with an anesthetic injection. The discomfort most patients feel is the injection itself, before the numbing kicks in. Once numbed, you shouldn’t experience pain. If you feel any discomfort, Dr. Bailey can give additional injections.

After the procedure, you may need stitches, depending on the size of your wound. With deeper wounds, Dr. Bailey can expertly reconstruct the skin with a graft or skin flap to help prevent scarring.

Some itchiness and redness around the surgery site is to be expected, depending on where the wound is on your body. It usually takes 4-6 months for the redness to fade, depending on the depth and size of your surgical wound, so be cautious and patient until you fully recover.

If you have a suspicious growth or are looking for a Mohs surgery specialist, contact us at Naaman Clinic to schedule a consultation with Dr. Bailey. Call or use the online booking feature.

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