Mohs Surgery

This afternoon I underwent a successfull Mohs surgery for the removal of a basal cell skin cancer from my chin. The cancer was non-life threatening, and apparently basal cell skin cancers are relatively common, and very easily treated.

The basic procedure is that they perform an initial round of surgery, taking perhaps 10-15 minutes, and then there is an hour wait while they do some lab work to ensure they “got it all”. It’s not uncommon for there to be a second round of removal, and indeed, that was the case for me.

What was interesting was not so much the short surgeries (and the smell of burning flesh as they electronically sutured the cut), but rather the fact that it took over an hour to stitch up the wound. For a variety of good reasons, a simple sew-up wasn’t appropriate. Instead, they spent over 20 minutes making new cuts (at one point I accused the dr. of making one of those asian tomato roses, he was making so many cuts!), in order to close the wound in such a way as to avoid causing major scarring. So, instead of one long vertical or horizontal close, I ended up with a large, S-shaped stitch.

Overall, the experience, while obviously not something one would do for fun, was relatively painless, both in terms of actual pain and in terms of dealing with the procedure. My doctor and his assistant were excellent; skilled, efficient, very personable and easy to talk to, and that made the time go by quickly.

1 thought on “Mohs Surgery”

  1. Really like your blog. It was on the top of the movabletype recently updated list. Does the picture of the moon change with phases?

    Well, anyway, your description of the surgery interested me. A log of things in life are getting to be like that–not fun, but relatively painless.

    Every six months I go into the University’s Cutaneous clinic and a mole specialist checks me over. One time, an intern who was taking a biopsy of my ear said it “probably was” basal cell skin cancer. He gave me an explanation very much like what you describe. Lucky, he was wrong!

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