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Removing Skin Cancer with Mohs Surgery

Skin cancer often occurs in places where you don’t exactly want a big scar…like the cheeks, nose, or forehead. Removing a basal cell carcinoma on the back of a man is a far cry from removing a squamous cell carcinoma on the cheek of a woman. That’s why Dr. Malamet uses Mohs surgery for removal of most skin cancers.

What is Mohs surgery?

First developed in 1938 by surgeon Frederic Mohs, Mohs surgery is microscopically controlled surgery used to remove common forms of skin cancer. Since its introduction, Mohs micrographic surgery has been refined into the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for removing skin cancers. This is important on the delicate, visible areas where leaving the largest amount of healthy surrounding tissue is very important.

During Mohs surgery, Dr. Malamet removes the cancerous tumor. Then the tissue is immediately examined for cancer cells. The margins, or outside, of the cancerous tissue are examined. If cancer cells are still found, additional tissue on the outside is removed until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached. This is called “clear margins.” Mohs surgery allows Dr. Malamet to be very precise and remove the least amount of tissue beyond the cancerous tissue.

Advantages of Mohs surgery

In areas where precision isn’t as important, say on the man’s back noted above, the amount of tissue to be removed is blindly estimated. That is the typical method for removing skin cancer. This approach has two drawbacks: it can lead to the removal of unnecessary healthy tissue (creating a bigger scar) and to tumor re-growth if any cancerous cells are missed. There is a fair amount of guesswork about the size of the tumor and whether or not you’re taking all the cancerous tissue out.

By microscopically testing layer upon layer of the tissue removed with Mohs surgery, the guesswork is eliminated with only the necessary tissue being removed. That’s why Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer — up to 99%.

On a delicate area such as the face, the advantages of Mohs surgery with Dr. Malamet are obvious. Because Mohs surgery minimizes the amount of healthy tissue removed, it reduces the impact on the surrounding skin, improving the aesthetic outcome. Plus, patients can be confident that the entire tumor has been removed. This saves money and anxiety. It virtually assures the patient that the skin cancer won’t grow back on the site.

If your dermatologist has just called to tell you that spot on your cheek is a squamous cell carcinoma, don’t let him or her take it off. Call Dr. Malamet at 818-380-3130 and have him remove it with Mohs surgery.