More than two million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year and about one in five will develop a skin cancer in their lifetime. The other bad news, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, is that most skin cancers occur on the face and can be very disfiguring.
In the 1930s, Dr. Frederick Mohs developed a special surgical technique for removing the most common skin cancers, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas with a 99% cure rate. A huge benefit to Mohs is that surrounding healthy tissue is preserved. During Mohs Micrographic Surgery, layers of skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains.
Doctors who specialize in Mohs have been trained in dermatology, dermatologic surgery and dermatopathology. Dr. Kattie Allen completed her Fellowship in Mohs Surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She performs Mohs Surgery at Premier's Bentonville location.
How to Prepare for Mohs Surgery
Be sure to inform your surgeon of any medications or supplements you are taking.
In most cases, Mohs is performed using local anesthetic so typically there are no diet restrictions leading up to surgery.
Wear comfortable clothing on the day of your surgery. You may also want to bring a book to help pass the time.
What to Expect
Mohs is performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthetic. In most cases, the procedure lasts several hours but could take all day depending on the depth of the skin cancer. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the visible skin cancer. The area is bandaged and the patient rests while the tissue is examined under a microscope. This process is repeated until all margins are cancer-free. Once the skin cancer has been completely removed, the wound is closed. In some cases, skin flaps or grafts are needed to close the wound. Most patients are able to resume light activities the day after the surgery. Patients should avoid strenuous activities for at least a week after surgery.