Mohs Surgery: Worth the Wait

November 17, 2022

Mohs Surgery: Worth the Wait

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is the most advanced and effective treatment for skin cancer available today. It allows specially-trained dermatologists, like our Founder and Medical Director, Dr. Michelle Pennie, to remove skin cancer with pinpoint precision and accuracy. Mohs surgery involves a repeated series of surgical excisions, followed by microscopic examination of the surrounding tissue to determine if any cancerous cells remain. 

Although the treatment from start to finish may take a while, the benefits of Mohs surgery—when compared to traditional excision—far outweigh the inconvenience in the time it may take. With minimal cosmetic harm and a 99% cure rate, we at Paradise Dermatology think Mohs is worth the wait.

What Are the Benefits of Mohs Surgery?

With Mohs, the skin cancer is removed while removing the least amount of surrounding normal skin. Its high cure rate is mostly due to the meticulous nature of the procedure, which can take several hours and sometimes even a  whole day.

How Much Time Should I Plan For?

The process of removing the tissue is relatively quick. A skilled Mohs surgeon like Dr. Pennie may complete a removal in less than 15 minutes, similar to the amount of time it takes for a skin biopsy. 

However, much of the wait involved in most Mohs surgeries is the fact that there may be several samples of tissue to process. First, local anesthesia is applied and the visible tumor is removed along with a thin layer of surrounding tissue. The physician will take this sample and examine it to determine if there are skin cancer cells beyond the visible tumor. If there are, this process of sampling is continued until the physician sees no more cancerous cells. The analysis of each specimen takes up to one hour. 

How Should I Prepare for My Appointment?

It is recommended for patients receiving the Mohs procedure to plan on having the whole day free, since there is no certain way to know how long the process will take. Mohs surgery most often takes up to 2 to 3 hours, but can end up taking longer.

A surgical gown most likely will not be needed, so patients should wear comfortable clothes. It is also recommended that the patient and anyone coming to support the patient bring something to pass the time while they wait. A laptop or tablet for e-books or your favorite streaming apps, a deck of cards, or a favorite board game, or an arts and crafts project can all help the wait.

Only See a Board-Certified Mohs Micrographic Surgeon

Ensure your physician is Board-Certified in this delicate procedure. Dr. Michelle Pennie is one of a few surgeons on the West Coast of Florida that is double Board-Certified in both Mohs Micrographic Surgery and Dermatology. 

Dr. Pennie earned her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College before completing medical school and residency at Emory University. Her year-long fellowship training with Dr. Georga Hruza at The Laser and Dermatologic Surgery Center in Chesterfield, Missouri is where she performed hundreds of Mohs Micrographic Surgery procedures and advanced reconstructions. 

Dr. Pennie has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Florida, teaching medical students and residents Mohs surgery and advanced reconstruction techniques. Dr. Pennie is also an active member of many national medical societies including: 

  • American Academy of Dermatology
  • American College of Mohs Surgery
  • American Academy of Dermatologic Surgeons

Mohs is the Best Choice for Skin Cancer Removal

Although the Mohs process can potentially make for a long day, it’s worth the time it takes because the skin cancer will be entirely removed leaving behind as little cosmetic damage as possible. At Paradise Dermatology, Dr. Pennie is equipped with the training and experience to deliver this top-tier treatment. Bring something to do to pass the time, and rest in the comfort of knowing that the best medical and cosmetic outcomes will result from the process.