St. Luke’s dermatologists offer skin-saving Mohs surgery, a precise and effective procedure, to treat skin cancer with a high risk of recurrence on the face and other sensitive areas.
Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon Ryan Johnson, MD, of St. Luke’s Dermatology, explained that the procedure is the most effective technique for treating many basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas – the two most common types of skin cancers. The Mohs surgery cure rate is 99% for an untreated skin cancer growth and 94% for a recurring tumor. The procedure is particularly effective for treating cosmetically and functionally sensitive areas. This includes the nose, lips, ears, scalp, genitals, fingers, toes and around the eyes.
“Mohs surgery is a win-win,” Dr. Johnson said. “We have high cure rates, and we remove less healthy skin, which means smaller scars for patients. Over time, the removal site continues to heal for an even more cosmetically appealing appearance.”
Another advantage of Mohs surgery is the procedure is performed in one visit, said Stephen Senft, MD, also of St. Luke’s Dermatology. Traditionally, a tumor is removed and sent to a laboratory for testing. If tests find cancerous cells in the surrounding tissue, the patient must return for a second surgery.
“At the end of the Mohs surgery procedure, we are usually able to say to our patient that the tumor margins are clear, and the chance of recurrence is very low,” Dr. Senft said. “It’s gratifying when a patient comes back and says this looks great. I was so worried and now it’s very presentable. A lot of anxiety is alleviated.”
Dr. Senft has developed close relationships with many of his patients, he said, because each procedure can last several hours. “There are people who have 10, 20 skin cancers removed in their lives so you get to know them very well.”
Dr. Senft joined St. Luke’s Dermatology three years ago after many years of private practice.
“Being a Mohs surgeon at St. Luke’s is great because we have the entire Network behind us,” Dr. Senft said. “At St. Luke’s Anderson, we have the backup of ears, nose and throat physicians and plastic surgeons and have access to the hospital’s emergency team. If it’s a particularly difficult lesion, we can consult with, and refer to, oncologists, surgical oncologists or radiation therapists. They’re all right here at Anderson.”
Both Dr. Johnson and Dr. Senft encourage people who have had skin cancer, or have a family history of the disease, to be checked regularly by a dermatologist or their primary care doctor. To schedule a Mohs surgery appointment with Dr. Senft or Dr. Johnson, call 484-503-MOHS (6647).