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I'm Nervous About Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery provides the best outcomes for skin cancer surgery. Five-year cure rates following surgery remain 97% for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and 99% for basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Dr. Jeffrey A. Klein and our other providers at HK Dermatology in San Juan Capistrano, California believe knowledge is power. We hope to ease your fears about Mohs surgery with the following information.

The ins and outs of Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery works well for two of the most common forms of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. By removing only one thin layer at a time and checking it for cancer cells, Dr. Klein or Dr. Kassardjian removes the cancer from its root, taking as little tissue as possible.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

The most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinomas generally appear on your head and neck, the parts of your body most often exposed to the sun. Symptoms include:

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cells occur in the top epidermal layer of your skin. When ultraviolet radiation causes DNA damage in these cells, squamous cell carcinoma can result. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, doctors diagnose more than one million cases of SCC each year.

Our providers recommend Mohs surgery for both basal and squamous cell carcinomas, especially those with a high risk of recurrence, that lie deep within the skin, or appear on your face.

The Mohs outpatient procedure

During a single outpatient procedure under local anesthesia, Dr. Klein or Dr. Kassardjian:

  1. Examine and prep your skin
  2. Remove a thin layer of visible cancerous tissue
  3. Apply a temporary bandage
  4. Send sectioned pieces to the on-site lab for diagnosis

In the lab, a technician meticulously sections the pieces to view under a microscope. If any cancer cells remain, another tiny layer of skin is excised and analysed. These steps are repeated again until no cancer is found. Depending upon the size and location, the wound may be stitched, and is allowed to heal.

Steps to prepare for surgery

Once you and Dr. Klein or Dr. Kassardjian agree that Mohs surgery is the best way to go, get ready by following a few simple steps, as follows:

  1. Discuss all your health conditions, as well as any previous issues with anesthesia
  2. Don’t take blood thinners for one week before and after surgery to minimize bleeding, if approved by your doctor.
  3. Forgo skin moisturizer, makeup, and sunscreen the day of surgery
  4. Eat a healthy breakfast, with lots of protein to encourage healing
  5. Wear comfortable clothing and prepare to wait between each microscopic examination of your skin sections

Relax, you’re in good hands

Our providers and caring staff guide you every step of the way. No matter where your skin cancer exists, Dr. Klein or Dr. Kassardjian removes it with minimal pain and scarring. Afterwards, we’ll instruct you on the best ways to help your skin heal, such as avoiding sun exposure; cleaning the wound properly; and moisturizing the area to reduce scarring.

To discuss any skin-related concerns and treatments, or to schedule a routine checkup with one of our providers, simply call us at 949-248-1632, or book an appointment online today.

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