As a holistic dermatologist, I place a significant emphasis on the interconnectedness of the body and mind in understanding and treating various skin conditions. Today, I would like to shed some light on a critical facet of dermatological treatment: Mohs Micrographic Surgery. This technique is regarded as the gold standard for treating specific types of skin cancer, and it carries a unique history, benefits, and alternatives that are worth exploring.
What is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. Named after its founder, Dr. Frederic E. Mohs, the procedure involves progressively removing and examining thin layers of cancer-containing skin until only cancer-free tissue remains. It is especially valuable in treating basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), two of the most common types of skin cancer.
A Brief History
Dr. Frederic E. Mohs developed the Mohs surgery technique in the late 1930s. His initial method, called chemosurgery, involved applying a fixative paste to the tumor to kill cancer cells before surgically removing them. As technology advanced, a fresh-tissue variant of the procedure evolved, allowing for immediate examination of excised tissue under a microscope. This approach, now known as Mohs Micrographic Surgery, has been widely adopted due to its precision and efficacy.
Benefits of Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Mohs surgery carries several key benefits. Firstly, it has an exceptionally high cure rate – up to 99% for first-time treatment of BCCs and SCCs, and around 94% for recurrent tumors. This is due to the comprehensive microscopic examination of the excised tissue, ensuring that all cancer cells are detected and removed by examining all the tissue margins in one view.
Secondly, Mohs surgery preserves as much healthy tissue as possible. By removing only cancerous layers, it minimizes scarring and facilitates better cosmetic outcomes – an essential factor for tumors located in cosmetically sensitive areas like the face or hands.
While Mohs surgery is highly effective, it’s not always the most suitable option for every patient or every type of skin cancer. Alternatives include standard surgical excision, electrodessication and curettage (scraping and burning the tumor), radiation therapy, and topical treatments. These options might be considered based on the type and stage of cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the location of the tumor.
Who are Good Candidates for Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is particularly well-suited for individuals with high-risk, non-melanoma skin cancers. “High-risk” refers to tumors that are large, located in cosmetically sensitive or functionally critical areas, have aggressive histological patterns, or recur after previous treatment. Additionally, individuals with genetic disorders that predispose them to multiple skin cancers might also be good candidates for Mohs surgery.
Mohs Surgery: High Cure Rate and Excellent Cosmetic Results
Mohs Micrographic Surgery stands out in the field of dermatology for its superior cure rates and cosmetic outcomes. It allows for the precise removal of skin cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible, leading to smaller scars and less impact on the patient’s appearance.
In conclusion, the development and application of Mohs surgery represent a significant advancement in the fight against skin cancer. It is an innovative technique that melds surgical precision, microscopic accuracy, and a patient-centered approach, thereby ensuring high cure rates and optimal cosmetic results. A truly holistic technique and treatment!
However, it’s crucial to remember that while treatments like Mohs surgery are powerful tools against skin cancer, prevention is the best strategy. Regular skin checks, protection from excessive sun exposure, and a healthy lifestyle are fundamental in reducing skin cancer risk.
In holistic dermatology, we understand that every individual is unique, and so are their skin conditions and treatment needs. If you or a loved one are dealing with skin cancer, it’s essential to have an open and thorough discussion with your dermatologist about the best treatment options. Whether it’s Mohs surgery or an alternative method, the goal is to choose the path that ensures the best health outcomes while considering your overall well-being and quality of life.
Remember, your skin is a reflection of your overall health, and you deserve to receive the best possible care for it. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and, most importantly, stay healthy.
I’m Dr Angela Brimhall TheHolisticDerm and I’m here to help you feel good in your own skin! Sign up for my free skincare consultation or subscribe to my newsletter for more! Follow me on Tik Tok for more Holistic Dermatology approaches!