The Advantages Of Mohs Surgery Over A Simple Excision For Skin Cancer

Posted on: 21 January 2020

Mohs surgery is an advanced form of excision that allows doctors to slowly remove suspicious lesions and evaluate each piece for the presence of cancer cells. Although Mohs is more complex and time-consuming, the procedure has clear advantages over a simple excision.

One And Done

Mohs surgery increases the chances of the procedure being the only surgery needed to remove a cancerous lesion. A simple excision only removes a lesion that looks suspicious and leaves a small border around the lesion with little assurance all the lesion has been removed. If a lesion has spread, cancerous cells may be present in all the nearby tissues, even if the area appears healthy. Since Mohs surgery is done by removing small amounts of tissue at a time and each sample is checked under the microscope, the likelihood of removing all the lesion in one session is high. For some types of skin cancer, only an excision may be necessary to be curative. When there is a high likelihood of removing all the cancerous tissue at once, there is less chance of the cancer spreading or recurring.

Less Disfiguring

Depending on the location of the lesion and its size, surgery to remove the cancer can be disfiguring. For example, lesions on the face do not have to be large before they can severely affect appearance. Larger lesions elsewhere on the body may leave indentations where skin and fat used to be. When the doctor can safely preserve more of the surrounding skin around the lesion without concerns about missing cancerous cells, the excision is less likely to be disfiguring. Mohs surgery is frequently done to remove lesions on the face since these lesions tend to have the most dramatic impact on someone's appearance.

Salvaging Skin For Reconstruction

Regardless of the surgical approach, some lesions may be disfiguring once they are removed. Leaving as much healthy tissue in place can give surgeons more tissue to work with to aid in reconstruction. When there is tissue near the site of excision to work with, there is a better chance of not needing a graft from elsewhere on the body or the need for tissue expanders. Both approaches to harvesting more tissue for reconstruction will lengthen the time it takes to finish the procedure. Additionally, when skin is harvested from elsewhere on the body, it may be impossible to match the color and texture, which can make a skin graft on the face quite obvious.

When skin cancer is detected on the face or the lesion is large on other parts of the body, Mohs surgery can be the best strategy for excision. Preserving as much healthy tissue as possible can prevent disfigurement and give other surgeons healthy tissue to use during follow-up procedures.