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What Happens During Mohs Surgery?

Mohs micrographic surgery provides an effective way to treat skin cancer and reduce scarring. The surgery is offered by your West Palm Beach, FL, dermatologists, Dr. Barry Kuttner, and Dr. Kathleen Herne of Integrated Dermatology of West Palm Beach.

What is Mohs micrographic surgery?

Mohs micrographic surgery precisely targets skin cancer cells, which helps preserve healthy skin. Before Mohs surgery was available, dermatologists needed to remove a fairly large area of healthy skin around the skin cancer. Although removing healthy skin increased the odds that any lingering cancer cells were also removed, it created large scars. Sometimes, cancerous cells remained, even though a margin of healthy cells was removed.

During Mohs surgery, skin is removed one layer at a time, then examined under a microscope. If cancerous cells are still present in the skin, another layer is removed. The process continues until there are no more cancerous cells.

What can I expect during and after the surgery?

Before you undergo Mohs micrographic surgery in the West Palm Beach, FL, dermatology office, your skin will be numbed with a local anesthetic. After removing the visible tumor and taking a look at it under a microscope, your skin doctor will create a map of the cancerous cells. This map will guide them when removing additional skin layers.

When there are no cancerous cells remaining, the area will be closed with stitches. Since less healthy skin is removed during this procedure, scarring is minimized and healing time is reduced. If the cancerous area is particularly large, skin grafts or tissue flaps can be used to reduce scars and improve your appearance.

Redness, swelling, itching, or mild pain may occur after Mohs surgery. Over-the-counter pain medications can be very helpful in controlling any pain you might experience. You'll need to avoid showering or bathing for the first 24 hours, as it's important to keep the skin dry during this time. Although you'll probably be able to return to your normal activities 24 hours after surgery, you may need to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for a while.

Are you concerned about a change in a mole or suspicious spots on your skin? Call your dermatologists in West Palm Beach, FL, Dr. Kuttner, and Dr. Herne of Integrated Dermatology of West Palm Beach, at (561) 964-6664 to schedule your appointment.

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