I'm Nervous About My Upcoming Mohs Surgery

I'm Nervous About My Upcoming Mohs Surgery

It's completely normal to feel nervous about a skin cancer diagnosis and upcoming treatment like Mohs surgery. Fortunately, this procedure not only is the gold standard for successfully addressing certain kinds of skin cancers, but it can be completed in one day as an outpatient.

At the Ventura Institute for Dermatologic Arts in Ventura and Camarillo, California, Dr. Peter Karlsberg and his physician's assistant Michele Ayans provide state-of-the-art care for dermatological concerns like skin cancer as well as many aesthetic procedure options. Our specialized combination of art and science coupled with personalized treatment plans help you look and feel your best.

Skin cancer

When skin cells grow abnormally, the result can be skin cancer. Typically, places exposed to the sun are most at risk, but it can also develop on other areas of the body. There are a number of types of skin cancer, with the three most common being basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery is usually the best treatment for many basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. It has an up to 99% cure rate in skin cancers that have been diagnosed for the first time and up to 94% cure rate in skin cancers that have recurred. In addition, it spares healthy tissue and leaves the smallest possible scar. This is especially important for areas like the face and hands.

What to expect

Sometimes fear of the unknown can cause anxiety, so it's important to know the Mohs surgery procedure is simple and straightforward. The doctor may mark the skin cancer's area with a pen for reference. Next they administer a local anesthesia, which numbs the affected area but leaves you awake during the procedure.

Then the doctor uses a scalpel to remove a thin layer of the cancerous skin and sends it to a lab where it is cut into sections, color coded, and drawn as a map. The technician freezes the tissue, slices it even thinner, and then examines it under a microscope. If any of the edges or underside of the tissue reveal cancer cells, their location is matched up to the map, marked, and another layer of skin is removed. The doctor repeats this process until no cancer is detected. This procedure can take several hours or more since there is waiting time while the lab technician studies the tissue.

Once the area is free of cancer cells, it is either bandaged up or closed with stitches, depending on the wound's size and location.

Whether you have an abnormal mole or blemish on your skin and want to get it checked out or have been diagnosed with skin cancer and need treatment like Mohs surgery, we can help. Call us today at 805-214-6903 (Ventura) or 805-221-8789 (Camarillo) to make an appointment.

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