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Mohs Surgery FAQs
Ralph A. Massey, MD — Santa Monica & Encino, CA
Q: Why Is It Called Mohs Surgery?
A: Mohs surgery is a technique developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s. It is known as “Mohs micrographic surgery” in honor of his contribution.
Q: What Is Mohs Surgery For?
A: Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment for removal of most types of skin cancer, especially basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
Q: How Effective Is Mohs Surgery?
A: The cure rate for Mohs surgery is up to 99 percent, and for recurrent skin cancers, it is up to 94 percent.
Q: What Are the Benefits of Mohs Surgery Compared to Other Techniques?
A: With Mohs skin cancer removal, more healthy skin tissue is spared due to the precision of the procedure. The confirmation of cancer cell elimination can also be done right away.
Q: How Long Does Mohs Surgery Take?
A: Depending on your condition and the location of the lesion, Mohs surgery can take up to a few hours.
Q: Will It Be Painful?
A: A local anesthetic will be injected to numb the target area. This will make the Mohs procedure a pain-free process. We perform all procedures without general anesthesia, allowing for a quick recovery with a much lower degree of risk. Pain medication will be prescribed after the surgery in case you need it at home.
Q: Will I Have Stitches After Mohs Surgery?
A: Yes, sutures (stitches) will be used to close the wound. Dissolvable sutures are often used, and in these cases, there is no need to come back to the clinic for suture removal.
Q: Does Mohs Surgery Leave a Scar?
A: There may be scarring after Mohs surgery, depending on the degree of lesion growth. The severity of the scar depends on the spread of the skin cancer through the deeper layers of the skin. Scar-removal techniques can be utilized to address the appearance of scarring.
Q: What Is the Chance of Cancer Recurrence?
A: The risk of recurrence of cancer that has been treated by Mohs surgery is only one to three percent. However, if it has been treated previously through other methods, the risk is slightly higher.
Q: When Will I Know If the Cancer Cells Have Been Removed?
A: You will know right away, the same day, if all cancer cells have been removed from the target area. Each layer of tissue will be viewed under the microscope until no more cancer cells are detected.
Q: When Can I Go Back to Work?
A: Patients are recommended to stay home and rest after their Mohs surgery. Some are able to return to school or work a day or two after.
Q: When Can I Resume Workouts?
A: Limit all strenuous activities for the first seven days after surgery. You may be able to resume your workout regimen as soon as you are cleared by Dr. Massey.
Q: What Happens If I Don’t Undergo Mohs Surgery?
A: Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are not life threatening. However, if not treated early, they can spread and continue to damage the healthy tissue around them.
Q: Do I Need to Be Hospitalized for Mohs Surgery?
A: Mohs surgery is performed in an outpatient location, and there is no need for a hospital stay. You will be able to go home right after your treatment is complete.
Q: Is Mohs Surgery Covered by Insurance?
A: Yes, Mohs surgery is considered the gold standard for treating skin cancer and is covered by most insurance plans.
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