Procedure Information: Skin Disorders
Originally developed in the 1930s, Mohs micrographic surgery is the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for an increasing variety of skin cancer types. With Mohs surgery, an entire tumour can be identified and removed while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed.
Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate (up to 99%) for the most common skin cancers in Australia. It involves surgically removing layers of skin cancer tissue in stages and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy unaffected tissue is reached, signifying a clear margin. Dr Leow, as a fellow of the American College of Mohs Surgery, is specially trained in cancer surgery, pathology, and reconstructive surgery.
Mohs surgery is unique and more effective than standard tumour excision because of the way excised tissue is microscopically examined, to evaluate 100% of the surgical margin. The microscopic interpretation of tissue margins is performed on site by Dr Leow, who is specially trained in the reading of these tissue slides and is best able to correlate any microscopic finding with the surgical site. Advantages of Mohs surgery include:
- Complete cancer removal during surgery, virtually eliminating the chance of the cancer growing back
- Minimising the amount of healthy tissue lost
- Maximising functional and cosmetic outcome resulting from surgery
- Reconstructing the surgical site the same day the cancer is removed, in most cases
- Curing skin cancer when other methods have failed
- Other methods of treating skin cancer blindly approximate the amount of tissue to treat, which can result in the unnecessary removal of healthy skin tissue and tumour regrowth if any cancer is missed.
Because of the high success rate in Mohs surgery, most patients require only a single surgical visit. This usually includes reconstruction of the surgical site. Other methods might require additional surgery and pathology analysis, to close the wound and to treat any residual cancer. Each of these additional procedures involve separate fees and different specialists and technicians, while a single Mohs surgery visit incorporates all these components of skin cancer treatment, each performed by Dr Leow.
As Mohs surgery minimises the amount of healthy tissue removed, it also reduces the impact to surrounding tissue. The aesthetic outcome of the surgery is therefore optimised. Furthermore, the psychological impact of undergoing multiple procedures when cancer recurs can be significant. Mohs surgery minimises the risk of cancer recurrence, thereby reducing and often eliminating the cost of more complicated surgery for recurrent skin cancers.