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THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE BAD NEWS: Mohs Micrographic Surgery

Feb 8, 2019

If you’re up to speed with the previous chapters in Skin Centre’s 6-part blog series on Skin Cancer, then you’ve heard the bad news. You’ll know that New Zealanders can’t afford to be complacent, with an ever-increasing risk of developing a skin cancer of some sort during our lifetime. You’ll also know that we have the worst rate of melanoma in the world, with non-melanoma skin cancers: basal cell carcinomas (BCC) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCC); also fiercely competing for a leading position.

Facts like these can be overwhelming, but like skin cancer itself, the problem is not necessarily incurable. Ironically the good news often follows the bad, and this is no exception. Our skin cancer dilemma means that New Zealand breeds and attracts world-class dermatological specialists who dedicate their lives to the prevention and treatment of skin cancer.

The Skin Centre is proud to be a leader in this field. Prioritising comprehensive, specialised training, they’re able to provide New Zealanders with excellence in dermatological services, including the surgical technique called Mohs Micrographic Surgery.  A cutting-edge treatment for facial skin cancer, the Mohs procedure offers the highest potential for a cure as well as the best opportunity for excellent cosmetic results.

Did you know?

Dr Salmon’s and Dr Mortimer’s reputation and presence on the world dermatology stage earned Skin Centre the honour of being one of only three sites outside U.S.A to offer the rigorous Mohs Micrographic Surgery training programme to graduate specialists.

Why is Mohs considered the gold-standard of treatment?

This technique is a powerful tool to enable complete eradication of facial skin cancer; particularly BCC and SCC where the clinical margins are often indistinct. These edges are not able to be seen accurately with the naked eye but are precisely identified under a microscope.

Cure rates as high as 99% are well established for primary basal cell carcinomas using this modality and as high as 97% for recurrent tumours.

How does the Mohs technique achieve better results?

There are three phases to Mohs surgery:

The tumour is meticulously marked under dermascopy guidance and anaethetised with local anaesthetic. Dr Salmon and Dr Mortimer then precisely remove just the tumour and submit this for rapid processing in the onsite laboratory.

Next, while the patient waits in a lazy boy in the theatre recovery room, the dermatologist uses the Mohs technique, examining the specimen under a microscope to allow the precise identification of the size and extent of the tumour.

Next, if the first excision did not clear the tissue beyond all the margins, the dermatologist will return the waiting patient to theatre to remove the remaining cancerous tissue, while leaving the greatest possible amount of healthy tissue unharmed.

The power of this procedure comes from removing the guesswork and uncertainty in the treatment of skin cancer and the ability to achieve the best cosmetic result with much more intact, healthy tissue than you’d have with other methods. Even cancers which have been treated unsuccessfully by other means are usually curable by Mohs Micrographic Surgery.

Want to hear about the Mohs experience first-hand?

One of Skin Centre’s patients tells you all about it in this video clip.

Skin Centre’s dermatological team possesses an unbeatable combination of experience, training and state-of-the-art technology will ensure the best outcome possible.

Ring and book an appointment today

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