Mohs surgery Philadelphia
Mohs surgery is the technical name for the most effective treatment of most types of skin cancer. Originally developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs surgery is used to identify and remove an entire tumor while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue unharmed.
Skin cancers are the most common malignant tumors in fair-skinned Americans. Although some types of skin cancers, such as malignant melanoma, can be very serious, the typical skin cancer does not often pose a major threat to a patient's overall health. This is partly because a typical skin cancer is easy for your doctor to see, so it can be safely and effectively treated with a variety of techniques.
Some skin cancers such as particularly large or recurrent ones, however, can spread in ways that make them more difficult to treat. Fortunately, the board-certified dermatologists at Bryn Mawr Skin & Cancer Institute have been trained to predict which cancers are likely to spread in this way.
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How It Works
Mohs micrographic surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure that removes skin cancers under local anesthesia. Mohs uses a very precise technique in which small layers of skin are removed and examined under a microscope until the samples indicate that the skin cancer has been completely removed. If more cancer cells are seen under the microscope after the first skin layer or "level" has been removed, another skin layer is removed and examined. Each "level" is removed until all skin samples are clear and no additional levels need to be taken.
By removing only tissue where cancer is known to be present, the technique combines a very high cure rate while ensuring that the maximum amount of healthy tissue remains intact. Once the cancer has been entirely removed, the skin defect is surgically repaired.
Mohs is a very specialized technique because the entire edge and undersurface of each skin cancer layer is carefully examined under the microscope for the presence of very small cancer cells. With traditional surgery, only about 1%-3% of the tumor margins are actually examined, thereby increasing the chance some cancer cells may be left behind. Mohs surgery allows for examination of 100% of the tumor margins, thereby reducing the chance that tumor cells will be left behind. Clinical studies conducted at various national and international medical institutions demonstrate that with a cure rate of 95% to 99%, Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.
In order for Mohs surgery to be approved by your insurance company, specific criteria must be met. For example, the location of the cancer, its size, and previous therapies are all considered.