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Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer: What to Expect

There’s no better treatment for certain types of skin cancer than Mohs surgery, and there’s no better qualified expert to perform it in the Permian Basin than board-certified Dr. Ritchie Rosso at Chappell Rosso Dermatology and Laser & Aesthetic Center in Odessa, Texas. 

Although Mohs surgery is considered the gold standard for treating basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) — the two most common types of skin cancer — not every dermatologist can do it. Learning the technique takes intensive training and a two-year fellowship in a highly competitive program. Dr. Ritchie, a fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, offers this precise and highly effective treatment to our patients suffering from certain types of skin cancer.

If you’re a good candidate, here’s what you can expect.

Before your Mohs surgery

Getting ready for Mohs surgery is simple. As long as you’re in good general health and cleared for the procedure, you don’t have to take any special precautions, other than abstaining from taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, for about a week prior to the day of your surgery.

Unlike surgical procedures that use general anesthesia and require you to fast before surgery, you only need a local anesthetic to undergo Mohs surgery, so feel free to eat breakfast before coming in.

During your Mohs surgery

Once you’re settled comfortably in a position that allows Dr. Ritchie access to the treatment area, we administer an injection of a local anesthetic to completely numb your skin. Often, our patients tell us the shot is the most uncomfortable aspect of the whole procedure. As the procedure gets underway, you may feel a bit of pressure, but no pain. 

Next, Dr. Ritchie puts his specialized training to work. Unlike traditional excision procedures that cut out cancerous cells and much of the nearby tissues, Mohs micrographic surgery is a precise technique. Dr. Ritchie carefully removes each layer of skin in tiny increments, testing the cells as he goes, until he reaches cancer-free cells. 

This skilled technique allows Dr. Ritchie to get every last speck of cancer and allows you to emerge with the least amount of tissue damage as possible — read: less scarring.

After your Mohs surgery

Recovery from Mohs surgery is a breeze. You shouldn’t experience any pain, although the surgical site may be a bit tender for a few days. You might also notice some slight bruising or swelling, but these subside quickly.

We send you home with aftercare instructions, which include tips for keeping your surgical site clean and how to reduce scarring. 

The most important thing to expect with Mohs surgery is a cure for your skin cancer. The success rate for first-time Mohs surgery patients is 99%, and nearly the same for recurring cancer patients. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with a BCC or SCC, don’t wait for it to get worse, and don’t settle for an indiscriminate excision, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ritchie today, and find out if Mohs surgery is right for you. 

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