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What is Mohs Surgery?

Newport Beach Mohs Surgery

A skin cancer diagnosis is unnerving, yet it is the most common type of cancer humans face. Skin cancer is more common than breast, brain, and kidney cancer combined. In America, 20% of people will face a skin cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, most often basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. While the word “cancer” is a daunting one, most skin cancers are treated with relative ease and there is a “cure” for skin cancer. At ZENA Medical, we know dealing with skin cancer is unpleasant. That’s why it’s our mission to get our patients through the treatment with the best possible care and compassion.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized technique to remove skin cancer using the microscope to clear the margin and remove all the tumor cells. It has become one of the most complete skin cancer treatments available because it yields success rates of up to 99%. Mohs is the preferred procedure to treat places where skin cancers are highly visible and cosmetically important, such as areas of the face, hands, feet, or genitalia. 

Once the local anesthetic has numbed the area, your physician will use a scalpel to remove the visible area of cancer and a small margin of cells around it. Then, while the patient waits, the tissue is analyzed under a microscope to determine if there are more cancerous cells to be excised. If there are, another excision is made of the tissues, and again analyzed by microscope. This process is repeated until all the cancer cells have been removed. Because of the precise nature of the microscopic analysis, Mohs surgery leads to the highest amount of healthy tissue being preserved while all the cancer cells are removed. This is why Mohs micrographic surgery has such a high success rate and a better cosmetic outcome. The technique is so thorough, there will be no cancerous cells left behind, and the smallest possible excision is made.

Am I a Good Candidate?

You should attend annual skin checks to screen for skin cancer. If you have moles or skin irregularities that have grown quickly, have ill defined borders, concerning dark colors, or you’ve had a recurrence of a previous lesion on your skin, you need a biopsy to determine if you have skin cancer. Mohs surgery may be exactly what you need to ensure your cancer is completely removed. Patients with skin cancer on the face are prime candidates for Mohs surgery as it preserves the most tissue and can leave behind the least visible scarring.

Why Choose ZENA Medical for Your Mohs Procedure?

Each ZENA Medical physician has received the specialized training and certification required to perform Mohs micrographic surgery, and are also fellows of:

  • American Society of Mohs Surgery
  • American Society of Dermatologic Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

In some dermatology offices, Mohs surgery patients are released with an open wound on the day of their procedure, which isn’t closed until the next day. At ZENA Medical, you’ll leave with your Mohs wound site closed by our in-house plastic surgeon, Dr. Leong. The Mohs procedure is designed to preserve healthy tissues in cosmetically important areas while reducing scarring and minimizing incisions. Dr. Leong’s meticulous attention to detail enhances that design for the best possible outcome for healing. At ZENA Medical, your skin cancer treatment with Mohs surgery is a one-stop-shop solution, where your surgeon is also the pathologist, microscopically chasing the cancerous cells in real-time.

What is the Procedure Like?

This specialized procedure to preserve tissues takes about 2-4 hours to perform depending on how many rounds are necessary to ensure all the cancer is removed. There are, on average, 1-3 rounds for most patients. Because skin cancers are most often localized to small areas, only local anesthetic is required. Once the initial excision is made, you’ll wait comfortably in the ZENA Medical offices while your surgeon analyzes the slides under a microscope to plan the next round. Most people bring a book, start a movie, or visit with a friend. If no further excision is required, they will then direct you to our plastic surgeon to close the incision. Layers of the cancer are removed one at a time and inspected to minimize the healthy tissue taken while still ensuring removal of all cancerous cells. After your incision is closed, you should keep your bandage in place until instructed to remove it.

At ZENA Medical, we take skin cancer very seriously and employ the best treatments available to achieve the highest possible success rate. We want our patients cancer free, and we’ll work with you to create a preventative protocol to prevent and reverse sun damage and skin cancer. Keeping on top of new skin irregularities with annual skin checks is vital for making sure your skin is its healthiest and most beautiful.

Take the Next Step

If you’d like to learn more about Mohs surgery, we encourage you to schedule a private consultation with your personal assessment at ZENA Medical in Newport Beach, California today. Call us at (949) 200-8222 or fill out our convenient online contact form. We look forward to meeting you!

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