Aside from melanomas, most skin cancers are relatively easy to treat. While they present hurdles in the pathway of life, and leave permanent signs of their journey, they generally do not derail life’s course. Cancers of the skin of the face — the lips, eyes, nose, and ears — pose some unique challenges. First, there is not much real estate to spare since each centimeter has an important functional role! In addition, multiple adjacent facial subunits (i.e., the cheek, the nose, the upper lip, the upper eyelid, etc.), created by deep fusion planes, enable cancers to quietly travel deeply along the fusion planes and cause more damage.
Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS/MOHS) is a skin-sparing surgical technique used to remove cancerous lesions. Dr. Yagoda works with the dermatologist specializing in MOHS surgery to ensure complete cancer removal and an inconspicuous closure to produce the desired cosmetic result. During the surgery, thin sections of the skin surrounding the lesion are removed and immediately examined under a microscope in a lab at the same location. (In typical excisional biopsies, the skin is sent to a lab off-premises and results are not available for several days). If evidence of cancer is found, another thin section is removed until the margins of the area are found to be free of suspicious cells. MOHS technique ensures the complete removal of all microscopically diseased tissue while preserving the maximum amount of healthy surrounding tissue.
Although MOHS surgery is time-consuming, it has the lowest recurrence rate of malignancies and preserves more healthy tissue than other methods. It’s the treatment of choice for aggressive or recurrent carcinomas and especially for lesions in particular areas of the face.
Even though MOHS is as skin sparing as possible and many procedures result in tiny, completely inconspicuous scars, some lesions are simply too big, too deep, or too conspicuously placed to be removed without leaving a noticeable or even disfiguring scar. In these instances, a facial plastic surgeon, like Dr. Michelle Yagoda, can reconstruct the area and restore her patient’s appearance.
Contact our New York/NYC/Manhattan office to schedule your consultation. Ideally, you should see Dr. Yagoda in advance of the MOHS surgery, so that she can plan for a repair and coordinate her schedule with that of your MOHS surgeon.
Read about Dr. Yagoda’s Integrative Post Operative Care Program
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