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Doc Talk | Mohs Surgery

Doc Talk | Mohs Surgery

If you live until 65, you've got almost a 50% chance of getting some kind of skin cancer.

There are many different kinds, and while we often do what we can to prevent it by wearing sunscreen, getting ride of it once you have it is a whole other story.

One forward thinking surgery has almost a 99% chance of eliminating skin cancer once you're diagnosed.

It's called Mohs Surgery. It started being performed back in the 1930's but really took off in the 1970's.

It allows dermatologists and surgeons to ensure they're getting all the cancer cells, and not missing any.

Skin cancer can be tricky because not only do people want to get rid of it, but if the cancer is on their face they also don't want to ruin their face in surgery.

That's where Mohs Surgery comes in.

Dr. Lance Wood, a Holy Spirit Hospital Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon, said, "Mohs is particularly important because it is tissue-sparing, so in areas where the real estate is more important like on your face or ears, eyes, hands, other private parts, genital area."

Before Mohs, doctors would remove the cancerous tissue and cut it up to better see everything inside.

"I take what we call a Mohs layer, which is just you kind of bevel the scalpel around and underneath it to get kind of like a saucer to remove the skin cancer," said Dr. Wood, "Now it’s kind of a horizontal margins where you’re getting the whole 100% of that bowl. You’re getting the bowl to lie flat so there’s basically nowhere for it to sneak out."

This surgery has a 98.8% cure rate, and doctors say it only take two or three hours to complete the Mohs and reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Wood said, "It takes about a half hour generally to process the tissue, for me to look at it, and then you go back and usually do the plastic surgery or the reconstruction that same day."

The surgery is new at Holy Spirit Hospital, and doctors say when you leave, all you need is some Tylenol and you should be good to go.

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