Mohs Micrographic Surgery: The Gold Standard in Skin Cancer Treatment
Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly-advanced, precise, and effective method of surgically removing a variety of skin cancer types while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Although this technique was originally developed over eighty years ago, it is still widely regarded as the most successful and effective method of combatting Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCCs) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCCs). In fact, Mohs surgery has an unprecedented cure rate of up to 99% for skin cancer, significantly higher than other accepted methods of cancer treatment.
Mohs surgery is a precise, effective technique that, to be performed successfully, requires a high degree of training and expertise. Dr. Jamie L. McGinness is a nationally-recognized expert in Mohs surgery and reconstruction. A Board certified dermatologist, he is the only Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon currently serving the Metro East Illinois St. Louis area. He understands that facing a diagnosis of skin cancer is both frightening and overwhelming; his goal is to offer you top-notch medical care in the treatment of your cancer with the warmth, compassion, and personal touch you would expect from your provider.
Is Mohs Surgery the Right Option for Me?
Not all skin cancer is the same, and therefore, not all skin cancers can be successfully treated the same way. Our goal is to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that gives you the very best chance of a successful, long-term recovery. We will work closely with you and your physician to review and evaluate your medical history and determine whether Mohs surgery is the correct approach.
In general, Mohs micrographic surgery may be the best course of treatment for skin cancers on the head and neck, especially those that are:
- Located on the head (temple, forehead, eyes, ears, nose, or lips), neck, fingers, or toes
- Poorly defined
- Recurrent (the cancer has returned after previous treatment)
In some cases, patients with a suppressed immune system may also be a candidate for Mohs surgery even if their specific type of skin cancer does not meet any of these criteria.
What Does Mohs Surgery Involve?
Mohs surgery involves precisely removing layers of tissue at the cancerous spot until all cancer cells have been eliminated. As it is removed, each layer is carefully analyzed under a microscope to detect the presence of cancerous cells. The surgeon continues to remove layers of tissue until no cancer cells are detected under the microscope. Mohs surgery is unique and so effective because it allows 100% of the surgical margin to be microscopically evaluated unlike other techniques. The Mohs surgeon, who is specially trained in the reading of the pathologic slides, also pathologically interprets the tissue margins. The Mohs surgeon, also functioning as the pathologist, is vital as it allows the best correlation of any microscopic findings with the surgical site on the patient. This accurate, multi-step process allows the skin cancer to be mapped out and precisely removed, ensuring that all cancer cells are eliminated while minimizing the amount of healthy tissue lost near the cancer.
Mohs surgery can be performed in the comfort and safety of our office. General anesthesia is not required; a local anesthesia is injected at the surgical site before the commencement of the surgery, and additional injections may be required to ensure your comfort if multiple layers of tissue must be removed. The procedure usually requires several hours to complete, so plan for the full day with us. While the actual tissue removal can be completed relatively quickly, a complete and thorough analysis of the tissue may require 1-2 hours or more per tissue layer.
Mohs surgery may result in both superficial and structural damage to the area in which the cancer was located. In most cases, complete reconstruction of the damaged area is possible. Surgical reconstruction may occur immediately after the Mohs surgery and/or at a later time depending the surgical defect and the specific medical history of each patient.
Contact Dr. Jamie L. McGinness
Dr. Jamie L. McGinness is a Board certified dermatologist and the only Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon currently serving the Metro East Illinois St. Louis area. His dedication to excellence in patient care is backed by years of specialized training and coupled with the same compassion, caring, and personalized attention you expect from your family doctor. His goal is to work closely with you, your dermatologist (if you have one), and your primary care physician to develop a personalized course of dermatologic treatment designed to successfully address your specific health concerns.
If you are facing a diagnosis of skin cancer and believe that you may be a candidate for Mohs micrographic surgery, we encourage you to contact Dr. McGinness and schedule your consultation today.