Non-Mohs surgical removal (also called wide local excision) of a skin cancer is the most common technique performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons. This technique relies on an estimate by the part of the physician of how much normal skin to take out around the tumor to fully remove the skin cancer. After the skin has been removed, the wound repaired, and the patient sent home, the removed skin cancer is then sent to a pathologist to examine the margins (boundaries) to make sure that all of the cancer was successfully removed. It typically takes 4-5 days of processing time for the pathologist to make this determination.
The main advantage of surgical removal is that it is a quick and single stage procedure and has a high cure rate of around 90%.
However there is always a risk that not enough tissue was removed and if the pathologist discovers this, it means that another procedure would need to be performed at a later time to remove the remainder of the skin cancer.
Non-Mohs surgical removal is appropriate for the following scenarios:
- Small skin cancers with distinct margins
- Areas with good skin laxity
- Areas where maximal tissue preservation is not a high priority
Non-Mohs surgical removal is NOT appropriate for the following scenarios:
- Larger skin cancers
- Skin cancers with indistinct margins
- Recurrent skin cancers
- Areas with poor skin laxity
- Skin cancers located on the nose, eyelids, lips, or ears
- Areas where maximal tissue preservation is a high priority
If you are interested in pursuing surgical removal or Mohs removal of your skin cancer you may contact us to schedule an appointment for plastic surgery evaluation. One of our nursing staff will contact you and conduct a phone interview to assess how we may best serve your specific needs. We will review your skin cancer biopsy results and help you decide if you would be better served by a referral to Mohs specialist. We can also help you decide whether IV sedation anesthesia will be required.