Comparing Mohs Surgery To Excision For Melanoma Removal

Health & Medical Blog

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. 


27 June 2016

Making Changes With Vision Therapy

When my daughter began having academic problems in school and acting out, I knew that something wasn’t right. Her teachers wanted me to put her on ADD medications, but I didn’t think that that was the right course for us. I had serious doubts that ADD was what was causing her problems. I took her to several different specialists before discovering that her issues in school were actually do to a visual processing problem. The doctor recommended vision therapy, not medication, to help correct the problem and get her back on track. The exercises are really starting to pay off, and she’s showing great improvement.