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A Patients Guide to Mohs Surgery

Posted on March 27, 2017

A Patients Guide to Mohs Surgery
Approximately 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Basal cell and squamous cell are the two most common skin cancers accounting for more than 5 million diagnosed annually. Unfortunately, many of these people will experience skin cancer more than once in their lives. If skin cancer is caught early, it can be treated with great success, but if left untreated it can grow deeply within the tissues and potentially cause disfigurement. In rare cases, skin cancer can metastasize and grow into other organs within the surrounding area.

Although skin cancer can grow anywhere on the body, the most common area for these cancers to develop are the hands, face, ears, scalp, chest, and arms. Your best option for treatment is Mohs surgery.

What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is a precise treatment used to microscopically detect the margins of a tumor, preventing excess tissue from being removed. During Mohs surgery your specially trained dermatologist will remove the tumor with minimal surrounding border, which is then sectioned, cryo-frozen, and stained for examination under a microscope. Each layer is removed with an extremely conservative, precise approach to making certain that the cancer cells are completely removed, as well as minimizing any extreme surgical cutting.

Being Mohs Fellowship Trained is critical
Mohs surgery by a fellowship-trained surgeon has the highest cure rate and lowest recurrence rate of all other skin cancer treatment options. The key difference is in the extensive training. Fellowship training is the key. While any dermatologist may offer to perform Mohs surgery, only Fellows of the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS) have undergone rigorous fellowship training. Mohs Surgery Fellows are chosen through a highly competitive selection process and are required to complete an intensive 1 or 2-year post-residency ACMS fellowship training program. Becoming a Fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery is a qualification earned by less than 8% of all dermatologists nationwide.

Rebecca W. Lambert MD, one of the founding members of The Woodruff Institute, and Kathryn J. Russell MD are fellowship trained Mohs Surgeons. Under their care, you will receive the best outcome of removal and tissue preservation. Along with their expertise, the Woodruff Institute also is home to Jonathan E. Sonne MD, also a founding member of the Woodruff Institute and a fellowship trained and board certified Facial Plastic and Reconstructive surgeon. Our patients receive the precision of a Mohs Surgeon and the aesthetic expertise of a Facial Plastic Surgeon for the treatment of their skin cancers to give the best possible results.

Woodruff Institute for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery
At the Woodruff Institute for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, our practitioners encourage all of patients to get their yearly skin examinations and to also perform at home exams, looking for any suspicious areas that potentially could be a sign of skin cancer.

The symptoms to look for in moles or lesions are outlined in this simple acronym, ABCDE:
B—Border Irregularity
C—Color-Variegated or a Halo Effect
D—Diameter (>6 mm)

In addition to the symptoms above, there are supplementary signs to look for, which include:
A—Amelanotic (Pink or Red Lesion)
B—Bleeding/Bump (Raised Lesion)
C—Color Uniformity
D—De Novo Development (A New Development <6mm) Our approach to skin cancer is proactive, preventive and prescriptive. With office locations in Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero and the Fort Myers areas, the Woodruff Institute for Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery continuously educates the local community to avoid sun exposure and to always use effective sun protection. The best way to identify potential skin cancer is through annual full-body skin examinations with qualified medical professionals. Because it’s nearly impossible to look at your own skin in its entirety, and unfortunately skin cancers can hide from sight or be mistaken for harmless skin growths, it’s essential to see a dermatologist regularly.

To schedule your annual full body skin examination, call us at 239.498.DERM(3376) or click here to: Request an Appointment Online.
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