Information For Patients Preparing To Undergo Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery is a highly effective surgical technique used to remove skin cancer from patients' bodies. It allows surgeons more control over the type of tissue they remove. Tissue is cut away in very minute segments, and these segments are dyed and tested for cancerous cells. Mohs surgery allows your surgeon to leave more of your healthy tissue intact while making sure to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible. Here are three facts you should know when you're planning to undergo Mohs surgery:
1. Constantly improving technology has shortened the duration of Mohs surgery:
Your surgery will be completed in a single day, although it may take several hours. However, you should know that recent technological advancements have reduced the average operating time for Mohs surgery. Automated tools assist in the testing process, so your surgeon can spend less time coloring the removed tissue samples for observation. Your doctor may be able to give you an estimate for how long your surgery will take beforehand, but this is subject to change. Ultimately, the amount of time required will depend on how much cancerous tissue your surgeon needs to remove.
2. Your scar will continue to heal for up to a year after surgery.
Whenever people undergo surgery, scarring is often one of their concerns. No one wants to be left with a disfiguring scar. Mohs surgery will leave a scar, but the scarring is often less significant than the scars produced by other types of surgery meant to remove cancerous lesions. You should be aware that the appearance of your scar immediately after surgery doesn't represent its final look. Your scar will continue to heal for up to a year after your surgery is performed, and during that time, it will soften and fade. Many scars are red or dark-colored when they first form. Over time, your scar tissue will fade into a color that more closely resembles the rest of your skin tone.
3. You may need additional treatments.
Following Mohs surgery, your dermatologist will likely want to see you for follow-up visits. You may need to undergo additional testing to find out if your skin cancer has spread to your lymph nodes, a process called metastasizing. If your cancer has spread, you may need chemotherapy or radiation treatment. It's important that you follow through, even if you feel fine and can no longer see visible evidence of your skin cancer. Skin cancer can be fatal if left untreated, so you should follow all your doctor's recommendations.