What is Mohs surgery in Thousand Oaks
In the United States, skin cancer is the most frequently occurring form of cancer. Annually there are more than 3.5 million cases diagnosed. The forms of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. A widespread and highly effective treatment for most skin cancers is Mohs micrographic surgery.
What is Mohs micrographic surgery?
This method of treating skin cancer was developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s. Although this treatment was developed nearly 80 years ago today, it remains the most effective way to treat squamous cell carcinomas, basal cell carcinomas, and some melanomas. The objective of the procedure is to remove all of the cancerous tissue with minimal damage to the healthy tissue.
The Mohs procedure is minimally invasive, only requires local anesthetic, and it is performed here in our office by Dr. Panagotacos, a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon. Once the area surrounding the tumor is numb, she will begin by removing this visible portion of the tumor. She will also remove a thin layer of the tissue surrounding the tumor. Dr. Panagotacos will examine this to determine if there is any cancer remaining. If so, she will remove another thin layer only were the cancer is located. This will be analyzed and the procedure will be repeated until no cancerous tissue remains.
The final step of the treatment is to reconstruct the area that has been treated. The size of the area treated will affect how it is restored.
- If the treated area is small, it may be left to heal on its own.
- Somewhat larger wounds may require sutures, but no other reconstruction.
- When the tumor results in a large wound, a skin graft may be necessary to close and restore the area. Anther technique uses a flap when closing the wound.
- When excessively large areas are treated, it may be necessary to see a doctor who specializes in reconstruction. These cases are very rare.
What is a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon?
Any dermatologist can offer the Mohs treatment providing they have had the special training, but they do not offer their patients the same level of knowledge and experience that a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon such as Dr. Panagotacos offers her patients. The training program to become a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon takes one to two years to complete. Doctors must apply to the program after completing their residency. Those who are accepted into the program undergo extensive training in all aspects of the Mohs procedure including reconstruction. To complete the program they have to participate in at least 500 Mohs procedures demonstrating the ability to analyze tissue samples and detect the cancerous tissue. Participants also have to perform a variety of reconstructions ranging from simple to the most complex.
Thousand Oaks residents who have been diagnosed with skin cancer or have a spot that they are concerned about, can call Dr. Panagotacos’ office at 805-379-3376 and schedule an appointment. We are here for all of your skin care needs.
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