How do Dermatologists Remove Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer?

Remove Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer

shutterstock_65253685-945x630 How do Dermatologists Remove Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer? Houston DermatologistMohs micrographic surgery is believed to be the most effective technique for the treatment of many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), which are the two most common types of skin cancer.

Mohs surgery is the gold standard for the treatment of many BCCs and SCCs, including those in aesthetically and functionally vital areas around the nose, lips, eyes, fingers, scalp, genitals, or toes.

On top of this, Mohs is recommended for BCCs or SCCs that are substantial, aggressive, or growing fast, that have indistinct edges or have recurred after past treatment. Certain surgeons are also effectively using Mohs surgery on specific cases of melanoma.


Mohs surgery is undertaken in stages, all in one visit, as the patient waits between every stage. After eliminating a tissue layer, the surgeon checks it under a microscope in an on-site laboratory. In case any malignant cells remain, the surgeon knows their precise location and removes another layer of tissue while sparing as much normal tissue as possible.

Step 1

At the outset of the procedure, a surgical drape will be placed over the treatment site. In case the cancer is on the face, the patient may not be able to see the proceedings. However, the surgeon will talk them through it. They will numb the treated site fully using a local anesthetic. The patient will remain conscious throughout the procedure.

Step 2

The surgeon will remove a thin layer of malignant tissue using a scalpel. In some cases, this may only be the “the tip of the iceberg.” This means that the cancerous cells have extensions or roots that are invisible from the surface.

Step 3

The surgeon will dissect the tissue into numerous sections, color code them using dyes, and create a map of the surgical site. After this, the lab technician will freeze the dissected tissue and cut it into thin horizontal slices, akin to a layer of cake.

They will then mount these slices onto microscopic slides, and stain and cover them. This process is very detailed and time-consuming.

Step 4

The surgeon will evaluate all sides as well as the underside of the tissue mounted on the slides. In case any cancer cells remain, they will mark their location on the map. Then the surgeon will inform the patient about whether they will require the removal of another tissue layer.

Step 5

In the operating room, the surgeon will administer more anesthetic if required. They will then eliminate another skin layer at the location where the cancer cells still remain on the basis of the map. Then the patient will wait as the lab work initiates. This process will be repeated until the location has no remaining cancer cells.

Step 6

After no more cancer cells remain, the surgeon may leave the wound open to heal or use sutures to close, depending on its size and location.


For more information on procedures and treatments offered at Texas Surgical Dermatology PA please call 832.663.6566 or click here to contact our dermatologists. Helping patients in Houston, The Woodlands, Springs, Katy and other surrounding areas of Texas.

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