McFarland Clinic

Q&A: Dr. Leslie Christenson on Mohs Surgery

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May 21, 2012

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Early detection of cancerous cells increases the likelihood of a cure. Mohs Surgery is one way skin cancer can be detected and removed. Learn more about Mohs Surgery from McFarland Clinic Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon Leslie Christenson, MD.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized surgery used to remove certain types of skin cancer, most commonly basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It allows for the highest cure rate with the least amount of healthy skin removed.

What happens during Mohs Surgery?

The skin cancer that has already been diagnosed is localized and marked. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic. The clinically visible skin cancer is removed with a scalpel. The skin that is removed is taken to the Mohs lab to be prepared into microscopic slides that the surgeon will examine under the microscope. A map of the tissue is made and used to direct the removal of any residual tumor identified on the microscopic slides. The tissue is removed and examined as many times as is needed until the cancer is completely removed. Then the resultant surgical defect is repaired with sutures.

What conditions does Mohs Surgery treat?

Most commonly it is used to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma located on the head and neck. It can be used for other rare skin cancers that grow in a contiguous pattern.

What are the benefits of Mohs Surgery?

Its benefits include the highest cure rate with the least amount of healthy skin removal surrounding the skin cancer.

For more information, visit McFarland Clinic Mohs Surgery or call 515-239-4492.

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