Moh’s micrographic excision of skin cancer offers the very best option for removing two of the most common forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The procedure preserves as much healthy tissue as possible while successfully eradicating the cancer.
Elliott H. Rose, MD, of The Aesthetic Surgery Center in New York City, works with several highly trained dermatologists to conduct Moh’s micrographic surgery on qualified patients. If you’re scheduled for this procedure, here’s what to expect.
Preparation for Moh’s surgery
Dr. Rose and your dermatologist consider your health history and any medications you’re taking before you’re scheduled for Moh’s surgery.
Avoid aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories for about seven days prior to the procedure. Also, alcohol and vitamin E supplements should be curbed in the few days before you go in. There’s no need to fast before Moh’s surgery because it’s done under local anesthesia.
The day of your Moh’s surgery
You may feel nervous beforehand and that’s entirely normal. The Moh’s procedure isn’t painful or invasive, though. It’s usually a lot easier than you might expect.
You’ll receive an injection in the area to be treated. This contains a local anesthetic and is probably the most uncomfortable part of your entire procedure.
As your surgeon works to shave off the cancer layer-by-layer, you may feel some pressure. Because each section that’s removed is evaluated for lingering cancer cells, you may have some wait time. Bring a book, your tablet, or other items to pass the time.
In many cases, it takes just one procedure to eliminate all the cancer cells. If the first tissue sample shows more cancer cells are present, then you’ll receive more anesthesia so that more tissue can be removed. This process is repeated until a sample comes back clear of cancer cells.
Concerns about scarring
You may worry that Moh’s surgery will leave a notable scar, especially if you have skin cancer lesions on your face or in another prominent place. In many cases, it’s impossible for family and friends to tell you even had the surgery once you’ve completely healed. Moh’s surgery is designed to leave as little trace of damage as possible to preserve healthy tissue and your appearance.
Dr. Rose also uses his cosmetic surgery expertise during the procedure to reconstruct any areas that may be at risk of scarring or disfigurement due to Moh’s surgery. His procedures are done in conjunction with the Moh’s surgical procedure to maximize convenience and your outcome.
After Moh’s surgery
Your dermatologist and our office provide you with clear postoperative directions. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you’ll need to take it easy for at least 24-48 hours and avoid strenuous work or exercise.
It’s normal to have minor swelling and bruising following Moh’s surgery and reconstruction. Cold compresses and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories help ease any discomfort.
If you have more questions about Moh’s surgery and reconstruction afterwards, contact The Aesthetic Surgery Center today. Call our office or use this website to reach out.