What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery is a specialized surgery used primarily to treat the two most common types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. A board certified, fellowship trained Mohs surgeon performs the surgery in a comfortable office setting while the patient is awake using local anesthesia so that the patient does not feel anything during the procedure. The area where cancer cells have been detected by prior biopsy is identified and then the patient is prepped and numbed. The Mohs surgeon then removes the area that has been identified as being a skin cancer along with a very thin rim (“margin”) of surrounding skin. The patient is then bandaged and sent to our Mohs waiting room to relax while the Mohs surgeon checks the edges of the tissue for cancer cells by looking through a microscope. If any cancer cells are detected, the patient will be brought back to have more tissue removed. If not, the Mohs surgeon will repair the area by using plastic surgery techniques. The area may or may not need stitches. Aftercare instructions are then provided by our caring nursing staff. The bottom line is:
1. Mohs has the HIGHEST CURE RATE of any procedure that removes skin cancer.
2. Mohs allows you to KEEP THE MOST NORMAL SKIN of any procedure used to remove skin cancer so that a patient has the best functional and cosmetic outcome possible.
When is Mohs appropriate?
Mohs surgery is typically only used in special circumstances, most commonly for cancers occurring in areas of the body like the face, ears, hands, and feet where taking as little normal skin as possible is most important.
Our Mohs surgeon
At St. Petersburg Dermatology, we have an excellent board certified, fellowship trained Mohs surgeon who has been performing Mohs surgery in the Tampa Bay area for many years. Dr. Rachel Epstein is not only experienced, but she is also a very kind and gentle physician. She understands the importance of both treating cancer and obtaining a beautiful cosmetic result.
We happily accept referrals for Mohs surgery. Many of our patients may have been biopsied by a doctor out of state or by an office locally that does not have a Mohs surgeon. If you have a dermatologist already, you may have your Mohs surgery at our office and then continue seeing your dermatologist for skin exams and your other skin care needs.
If you have any questions regarding Mohs surgery, please do not hesitate to contact our office, and we will be happy to assist you!