Surgical Treatments

Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized, highly effective technique for the removal of many types of skin cancer. We remove thin layers of cancerous tissue, checking each layer in our state-of-the-art laboratory to ensure the cancer is removed while sparing cancer-free tissue. Mohs is performed under local anesthesia while the patient is awake. After a layer is removed, the patient will have time to enjoy a beverage or snack in our private waiting area. Because the tissue is removed and examined at the time of surgery, our patients are usually able to receive treatment in one visit. Mohs surgery is recognized for reporting the highest cure rate among skin cancer treatments.

Surgical Excision
Cysts, lipomas (benign fatty growths), and certain atypical moles can be removed by surgical excision. Benign growths are sometimes removed to relieve pain or itching. They may also be removed if they are growing for diagnostic purposes. They can also be removed fore purely cosmetic reasons, which generally aren’t covered by insurance.

Electrodessication and Curettage (ED&C)
This procedure is most often used to remove certain skin cancers. It is most suitable for areas of the body that are less cosmetically significant and for cancers that have not penetrated as deeply into the skin. A tool called a curette is used to scrape away tumor cells. When the surgeon has scraped down to a layer of uninvolved tissue, electric cautery is performed on the site to stop bleeding and further treat the area for cancer cells.

Cryosurgery is a procedure in which a lesion or growth is destroyed by the application of an extremely cold product called liquid nitrogen. Warts and solar keratoses are frequently treated by this method. The procedure that can be performed quickly and will minimize downtime. Sometimes lesions treated with this method may need additional freezing later on.

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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer has high cure rates when detected and treated early. Treatment options include medical and surgical procedures depending on the type of cancer, its location, and the individual’s needs. Treatment options include: Surgical Excision, Electrodessication and Curettage (ED&C), Cryosurgery, Mohs Micrographic Surgery, and Topical Medication. Those with fair skin who sunburn easily are at a particularly high risk for developing skin cancer.

Other risk factors include repeated medical and industrial x-ray exposure, scarring from diseases or burns, occupational exposure to compounds such as coal tar and arsenic, and a family history of skin cancer. The three most common skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), and Melanoma.

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Self Check is Important. Remember Your ABC’s:

A is for Asymmetry- One half of the spot is unlike the other half.
B is for Border- The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
C is for Color- The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.
D is for Diameter- Melanomas are usually 6mm or larger (size of a pencil eraser), but they can be smaller.
E is for Evolving- The spot looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

Three Common Types of Skin Cancer

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can be deadly. It begins in the melanocytes, the skin cells that produce the brown or black pigment called melanin. Since melanoma cells usually continue to produce melanin, the cancer often appears in mixed shades of tan, brown, and black. In other cases it can appear red or white. Melanoma can metastasize, or spread to remote areas, making early detection and treatment essential. Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter (size of a pencil eraser) when diagnosed. They tend to appear different from other moles and are often changing appearance, itching, or bleeding.

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer and appears frequently on the head, neck, or lower body as a pearly bump or a red patch. BCCs are typically found on fair-skinned people and usually do not grow quickly. If left untreated, the cancer will often begin an endless cycle of bleeding, crusting over, and “healing”. Untreated, it may cause more damage by extending below the skin to the bone and nerves.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common skin cancer and is typically located on the rim of the ear, face, or lips of fair-skinned people. The cancer may appear as a bump or red, scaly patch and can develop into a large mass. SCC can occasionally metastasize, or spread to remote areas. Early detection and treatment is the best option.