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. Earlydetection of cancerous cells increases the likelihood of a cure. MohsSurgery is one way skin cancer can be detected and removed. Learn moreabout 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 removecertain types of skin cancer, most commonly basal cell carcinoma andsquamous cell carcinoma.  It allows for the highest cure rate with theleast amount of healthy skin removed. 
 
What are the steps involved in this surgery? 
The skin cancer that has already been diagnosed is localized andmarked.  The area is numbed with a local anesthetic.  The clinicallyvisible skin cancer is removed with a scalpel.  The skin that is removedis taken to the Mohs lab to be prepared into microscopic slides thatthe surgeon will examine under the microscope.  A map of the tissue ismade and used to direct the removal of any residual tumor identified onthe microscopic slides.  The tissue is removed and examined as manytimes as is needed until the cancer is completely removed.  Then theresultant surgical defect is repaired with sutures.
 
What conditions can be treated with Mohs Surgery?
Most commonly it is used to treat basal cell carcinoma and squamouscell carcinoma located on the head and neck.  It can be used for otherrare skin cancers that grow in a contiguous pattern.
 
What are the benefits of Mohs Surgery versus other methods of treating skin cancer? 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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