Mohs Micrographic Surgery (MMS) is the optimal technique for many skin cancers, particularly those on the face, ears and scalp. The procedure is associated with a greater than 97% cure rate. In Mohs surgery, the dermatologist performs the simultaneous roles of skin cancer surgery and diagnostic skin pathology. These dual roles are direct extensions of Dr Alanen’s training as a Pathologist (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – certified1999), subspecialty Dermatopathologist (Fellow, American Society of Dermatopathology certified 2001) and Dermatologist Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada certified 2004).
The Mohs procedure involves the surgical removal of the visible portion of the skin cancer, along with a layer of the surrounding normal skin. This tissue is then divided into sections and colour-coded by Dr. Alanen, while corresponding reference marks are made on the patient to indicate the source from which each section was taken. Dr. Alanen then draws a diagram of the surgical site, and the tissue is processed and microscope glass slides for examination and analysis by Dr. Alanen. He then examines the edges of each section microscopically for evidence of remaining cancer cells. If any cancer remains, this tissue is removed. This process is repeated until no further evidence of cancer remains at the surgical site. Once the cancer has been definitively removed, the area is then closed with sutures. Thus, the appeal of the procedure is that all of the cancerous tissue is removed before the area is stitched.
If you have a Mohs’ Micrographic Surgery appointment scheduled with Dr Alanen, please read this document, print and bring it with you to the appointment.