Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mohs Surgery

UPDATED: 3/26 below

I didn't know anything about Dr. Fredrick E. Mohs, but my surgeon did. I went 'under the knife' yesterday in a procedure known as Mohs surgery. Wikipedia says this:

Mohs surgery, also known as chemosurgery, created by a general surgeon, Dr. Fredrick E. Mohs, is microscopically controlled surgery that is highly effective for common types of skin cancer, with a cure rate cited by most studies between 97% and 99.8% for primary basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.
Well, great statistical hope in those numbers! It was relatively painless after the 10 novocaine injections around the circular site of the basal cell. Because these cells were on my face, it provided precise removal of the cancerous tissue, while healthy tissue around it is spared. The Mohs procedure is micrographically controlled, meaning that the excised tissue is sent to the lab for analysis. The histologist examines the tissue for cancer cells, then reports the findings back to the surgeon for further tissue removal in necessary. I had two tissue removals before I was finished.

Then the surgeon has the tricky task of sewing the wound; it is tricky because it is circular in shape. Circles do not mend themselves evenly. He did a double stitch- inner and outer so that there would be less of a scar when it was completely healed. The most unpleasant aspect of it all was the cauterization- I dislike the smell of burned flesh, especially my own.
My carefree summer days in the 40's and 50's have resulted in this and other basal cell removals and I suspect that I am not yet finished with all of that. If sunscreen has only been invented back then...

<----UPDATE:  Here's my new zipperface photo.  I amazed at the length of the incision as well as the fact that it is straight, relatively speaking.  Apparently, the round incision has been 'covered' by the straight one.

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