Whenever a patch of cancerous cells is found on your skin, you will usually be faced with two options for its removal: Mohs micrographic surgery or an excision removal. These two procedures are similar on a functional level, but a few key differences combined with your unique medical circumstances can dramatically impact the success of your surgery as well as the recovery process afterward. If you have the option of either procedure for your recently discovered skin cancer, consider these following four points of distinction between them.
Understanding the Differences
During excision surgery, the skin cells around a cancerous growth are examined and then circled, leaving a healthy gap between the cancerous cells and the non-cancerous ones. Then, the cancerous growth is simply removed along these margins; additional testing later on determines whether or not all of the cancer was removed. During Mohs surgery, on the other hand, the surgeon carefully inspects the cancerous cells throughout the operation before removing another layer, only taking what is needed until no more cancerous cells can be found.
Considering the Size and Shape of the Melanoma
In cases of small, well-defined melanoma patches, excision with a relatively wide boundary may be the simplest and most effective removal method. A surgeon with a clear idea of the extent of the tumor should have no trouble excising it while leaving minimal scarring. Mohs surgery is typically reserved for melanomas that are still in situ, or present only in the topmost layers of skin, or for irregular growths of unknown size and shape.
Minimizing Scarring in Visible Areas
If your melanoma is located somewhere highly visible, such as on your face, you will likely want it treated with as little collateral damage as possible. In these cases, Mohs surgery may be the preferred operation due to its more subtle and less intrusive approach. Rather than removing a small chunk of your face just to be safe, Mohs surgery specifically targets cancerous cells while leaving nearby healthy cells intact, reducing the overall loss of flesh as a result.
Taking New Technology Into Account
Mohs surgery was once almost exclusively used for basal and squamous cell carcinomas, but it is increasingly being used to remove melanomas due to immunohistochemistry, a promising new technique that can reveal cancerous cells quickly through chemical markers similar to dyes. This has made it much easier to identify remaining cancerous cells during surgery, making Mohs surgery a preferred option in some situations but overkill in others. Consult with your doctor and surgeon about the specific details of your case to get an experienced opinion on which of these surgeries would be right for you.Share
27 June 2016
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