Skin Cancer Surgery – Seeing a Mohs Specialist

  • March 12, 2021
  • Mohs Specialist

The Mohs story

Named after the surgeon who developed the technique, Frederic E. Mohs, Mohs surgery is a common technique used to treat skin cancer.

Skin cancer used to be treated with cryotherapy, medication, or excision. But now, with the perfection of Mohs surgery, there is a new option on the table. Mohs offers a very high success rate, and it is a slower, more meticulous approach to skin cancer surgery.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, with two out of every three Australians diagnosed before the age of 70.

Following a visit to your GP or local skin care specialist, you will be given a range of treatments to manage or treat your cancer.

In cases where surgery is required, you will need to see Dr Simon Tucker at Cairns Dermatology. Dr Tucker is a very experienced Mohs specialists, and the only one north of Brisbane.

Why Mohs is the way to go…

* Mohs surgery is very precise

* It leaves less scarring

* It is a quick and minimally invasive procedure

* It is a very successful treatment

* It is almost painless

The Mohs procedure

To be a qualified Mohs surgeon, you need to have a medical degree, specialist dermatology training, and complete a fellowship in Mohs Surgery.

Dr Simon Tucker will conduct the surgery onsite at the Cairns Day Surgery.

Unlike surgery where the cancer is removed, with Mohs the procedure is completed in various stages.

Stage 1: Examination and preparation

Following a biopsy, the surgeon will examine the cancerous spot, clearly mark out the area requiring the treatment, and will numb the area with a local anaesthetic.

Stage 2: Top Layer Removal

With a scalpel, the surgeon will remove a thin layer of the cancerous tissue, which will be delivered to the lab for analysis. The surgical wound will be dressed, and the cancer tissue will be taken to the lab for analysis.

Stage 3: The Laboratory analysis

The tissue will be dissected into various slices, and they will then be colour coded, and mapped to allow for better microscopic analysis.

Stage 4: Microscopic examination

The examination of the mapped layers, allows the surgeon to see if any cancer remains, and to see where to remove the next layer.

Stage 5: Second layer removal

Following the analysis of the removed layer, the surgeon will commence removing the next layer. This may require the administering of more anaesthetic, and a very precise layer will be removed. This process is then repeated until there are no more signs of the cancer cells.

Most cases take less than 45 mins, but in more severe cancer cells, this process may take a few hours to complete.

Stage 6: Repairing the wound

Depending on the size and location of the wound, it may be left open to heal, or the wound may be closed with stitches. In severe cases, reconstructive surgery may be required to fill the cavity. Normally neighbouring tissue will be used to fill the gap, with a skin flap used to cover the surgical area.

Stage 7: Healing process

The medical team will supply you with information on caring for your wound, and allowing you to recover with as little scarring as possible. Follow up visits will be arranged at this point.

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