Skin cancer surgery

Removing the cancer surgically is most often the primary treatment for skin cancer. Your surgery may involve one or more of the following procedures.

  • Courtesy of American College of Mohs Surgery
    Mohs micrographic surgery (or Mohs surgery). This highly specialized technique is considered the gold standard for skin cancer surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon carefully shaves away the one layer at a time, examines each under a microscope (performing surgery and pathology analysis simultaneously) until no cancer remains. This reduces the amount of healthy tissue that’s removed, providing the highest cure rate and smallest scar possible.

Mohs surgery is an important option for cosmetically and functionally sensitive areas around the eyes, nose, lips, ears, scalp, hands, feet and genitals. Roswell Park’s Mohs surgeons are fellowship-trained by the American College of Mohs Surgery and have each performed more than 5,000 procedures.

  • Excisional skin surgery. Surgery to remove the cancer along with some surrounding healthy tissue, leaving the margins (bordering tissue) free from cancer.
  • Electrodessication and curettage. The cancer is removed with a sharp instrument called a curette and a needle-shaped probe delivers electric current to the area to stop bleeding and kill any remaining cancer cells.
  • Cryosurgery. Rarely, liquid nitrogen may be applied directly to some very early cancers to freeze them and kill the cancer cells.
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery. Surgery to restore or improve the appearance and/or function after removal of very large skin cancers.

The Roswell Park Advantage — Same-day Mohs surgery and reconstruction

Some cancers are like icebergs, with just a small portion visible on the skin surface, and larger roots and extensions spreading beneath. At Roswell Park, when needed our Mohs surgeons collaborate with our Plastic & Reconstructive surgeons so that both cancer removal and reconstruction of the skin tissue and structures (ear, nose, lips) occurs on the same day for optimal cancer control and cosmetic appearance. .

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