Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are the two most common types of skin cancer. There are more than 4 million BCC diagnoses every year, though these growths tend to be slow and, when caught early, easily treatable. SCCs are less common, with only about 1 million diagnoses every year. They are also more difficult to treat and result in an average of 15,000 deaths in the United States yearly.
What is Mohs Reconstruction?
Mohs reconstruction is considered to be the least invasive and most effective technique for treating most BCCs ad SCCs. With the Mohs technique, the surrounding tissue is protected from trauma, helping to reduce scarring and functionality issues that may accompany skin cancer removal.
Because it preserves surrounding tissue, Mohs reconstruction is ideal for highly visible or functionally important areas of the body, such as the scalp, ears, eyes, nose, and lips. It is also ideal for skin cancer removal on or around fingers and toes, and on sensitive areas around the genitals.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and would like to learn if Mohs reconstruction is right for you, please call CLE Plastic Surgery at 440-446-8600. We welcome patients from Cleveland and all surrounding areas of Ohio.
The Mohs Reconstruction Procedure
Mohs reconstruction is an outpatient procedure that can be performed under local anesthetic. Completed in a single office visit, Mohs surgery is done in stages. These include:
- Removing the top layer of cancerous tissue. During Mohs surgery, cancerous cells are carefully removed layer by layer until no cancer remains
- Lab analysis. Mohs reconstruction will occur after your biopsy, but all excised tissue will need to be analyzed to determine if cancer is present in each layer
- Microscopic evaluation. This will let Dr. Khouri know if any cancer remains. If there is still cancerous tissue present, a second layer will be removed
- Wound repair. After all of the cancerous tissue has been removed, the wound will be sutured. In some cases, a skin graft may be necessary as well
Depending on the amount of cancer present, Mohs surgery may take several hours. During your initial consultation, Dr. Khouri will be able to give you a better idea of what you can expect from your surgery.
Mohs Reconstruction Results
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Mohs boasts a 99% cure rate for skin cancers that have not been treated before. The procedure enjoys a 94% cure rate for recurrent skin cancers that have previously been treated.
In addition to a remarkable success rate, the method itself spares healthy tissue, helps reduce scar size and visibility, and is often less expensive than more involved and invasive forms of skin cancer removal.
Preparing for Mohs Reconstruction
Mohs reconstruction does not require much preparation. You may be advised to cease taking certain medications prior to your procedure. Some herbs, supplements, and vitamins may also need to be avoided in the weeks leading up to Mohs reconstruction. Dr. Khouri will cover all of these during your initial consultation.
Be sure to wear something that is both comfortable and that gives Dr. Khouri access to the treatment area. Depending on the amount of cancer present, Mohs surgery may take several hours. It is a good idea to be comfortable. It is also a good idea to bring magazines, books, and other ways to busy yourself during the lab testing and evaluation portions of the treatment.
Recovery will depend on the area being treated and the extent of treatment needed to accomplish complete cancer removal. Dr. Khouri will provide you with personalized instructions based on these and other factors unique to your procedure.
Mohs Reconstruction Risks
Surgical complications such as bleeding, infection, and discomfort are possible with any procedure. The great care taken during Mohs helps reduce these risks. So too will following Dr. Khouri’s preoperative instructions.
Risks exclusive to the procedure include:
- Numbness in the surgical area
- Weakness in the surgical area
- An enlarged scar
Dr. Khouri takes every care to help prevent nerve damage during Mohs reconstruction. This helps to reduce risks of numbness and weakness. You can assist in scar prevention by carefully following all pre and postoperative instructions provided by our office.
Recovery from Mohs surgery is typically short and uneventful. Dr. Khouri will remain in contact with you during the recovery phase to make sure everything is healing as planned.