When you have a skin cancer on the face, often times MOHS surgery is used to remove it. MOHS surgery is usually done by a specially trained dermatologist who removes the skin cancer and then immediately examines the tissue that is removed under a microscope to be sure that all of the cancer cells have been removed. If a few cancer cells remain, then the MOHS surgeon removes additional thin shavings of tissue, examining each new shaving under a microscope until the margins are clear and all of the cancer cells have been removed.
The value of MOHS surgery is in knowing at the time of surgery that all of the cancer is gone and making sure that the least amount of normal tissue has been removed to achieve that goal. In essence, it’s the approach that removes the cancer entirely while leaving the smallest hole possible.
Sometimes, even after making every effort to remove as little tissue as possible, the resultant wound can be too large to simply sew closed. In these instances, a plastic surgeon will often close the wound by rotating small flaps of tissue from other nearby areas or using skin grafts. Many of these strategies are complex, and some require more than one surgery to achieve the final result. The goal, however, is to help restore a normal appearance and help you look and feel like yourself after your cancer surgery.
Despite their complexity, many MOHS reconstruction surgeries take less than an hour to complete. Many can also be performed under a local anesthetic, meaning you may not need to go to sleep in the operating room for the procedure. Complications are few, and the post-operative discomfort is minimal.
Dr. Gage is an expert in reconstructing skin cancer defects and is committed to providing you individualized attention and beautiful results. If you would like to discuss how Dr. Gage can help give you the best result after your skin cancer surgery, please call the office for a consultation at (314) 251-4530.