THE MOST EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE FOR TREATING SKIN CANCER
Susong Dermatology is Chattanooga’s Premier Dermatology Practice. Our specialists are professional, friendly, and capable of caring for all of your dermatology needs. When it comes to Chattanooga and North Georgia dermatology care, Susong Dermatology is your one stop solution.
Most Effective Technique for Treating Skin Cancers
Developed in the late 1930s, but not widely known, Dr. Susong studied the technique and found tremendous benefits for dermatology. Often called Mohs micrographic surgery, the procedure is done in stages, including lab work, while the patient waits.
This allows the removal of all cancerous cells for the highest cure rate, while sparing healthy tissue and leaving the smallest possible scar.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a unique method for treating skin cancer that allows complete evaluation of the excised tissue, provides the highest rates of tumor clearance, and often allows for smaller removals.
Traditional excision methods look at approximately 1% of the outer edges of the removed tissue (the “margins”), and incomplete removal of a cancer can lead to it recurring and needing to have a potentially larger and more complicated second procedure performed.
Dr. Jason Susong is fellowship-trained in Mohs Micrographic Surgery through an ACGME-accredited fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic, and it is important to find a dermatologist with additional fellowship training in this technique to achieve the high degree of success the procedure can provide.
Most skin cancers that develop on the head and neck can be treated with Mohs surgery. This includes basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, as well as some more rare tumors. It is especially appropriate for skin cancers in areas where tissue sparing is needed for cosmetic outcome or function, cancers that have recurred following previous treatments, are large or ill-defined, or develop in individuals with suppressed immune systems (organ transplant recipients and others).
Notably, it is not as well suited for melanoma with current techniques, as melanocytes (the cells that make up melanoma) are difficult to visualize in the rapidly frozen tissue as they are in traditional pathology, and stains to make them more visible can be misleading or confounding.
This depends on the complexity of the skin cancer and the number of stages involved. We endeavor to remove the skin cancer with as little healthy tissue as possible, and with the fewest number of layers or stages. Most patients spend only a morning or afternoon with us, and we communicate with you along the way to ensure you stay in the loop. You remain awake throughout the entire day and most people are able to drive after the procedure without difficulty (this primarily depends on how you are bandaged).
We are all allergic to pain! We work very hard to make you comfortable in every way, and this especially includes pain control. We use the smallest needles in common production (30 gauge), buffer our lidocaine so it isn’t as acidic, take our time with anesthesia and use longer acting agents as well as nerve blocks when these are appropriate to keep you as comfortable as we possibly can. Most patients note minimal pain, and do not require narcotics for pain control.
Sometimes, stitches are not required, but this is the minority of cases and depends on personal and surgical factors. We will evaluate your wound together at the end of the cancer removal and discuss your options with you. All cuts on the skin leave a scar to some extent, and it is important to make it as hidden as is possible. For most people this involves a linear closure (a straight line) in an existing crease on the face. Some people benefit from moving skin from a nearby source to cover the wound (a flap) or borrowing skin from a distant site (a graft). This is a decision we will make together. We perform the repair for more than 90% of our surgeries, and most patients prefer to have us repair their surgery wound. Dermatology residency and in particular the Mohs fellowship involves a significant amount of complex reconstructive training, and this is in part why it is important to find a fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon and insist that they perform all aspects of your surgical care – start to finish! Some patients prefer a plastic surgeon whom they already have a relationship with to repair their wound, and we are happy to work with them and you to coordinate this if this is your desire. In some circumstances, the repair may be beyond the capabilities of our office or scope of our practice and we will discuss this and be happy to help refer you to our wonderful surgical colleagues should this seem to be in your best interest. You are our most important priority throughout this entire process, and we seek to have the best outcomes possible for you in terms of cure and cosmesis.
Mohs Surgery is the gold standard for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Not only is Mohs recommended for cosmetic and important areas around the eyes, lips, nose, ears, scalp fingers, toes, and genitals, but it is also recommended for large, aggressive, or rapidly growing BCCs or SCCs.
A surgeon will prepare you for the examination by placing a drape cloth over your clothes, and injecting a local anesthesia into the around the BCCs or SCCs. At all times you are awake for the procedure, and may often wear comfortable clothes. The surgeon will talk you through everything that is taking place. Sometimes, a patient may need to put on a hospital gown, depending on the location of the BCCs or SCCs. Once the area is completely numb, the surgeon will proceed to the next step.
Mohs surgery is the gold standard for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), including those in cosmetically and functionally important areas around the eyes, nose, lips, ears, scalp, fingers, toes or genitals. Mohs is also recommended for BCCs or SCCs that are large, aggressive or growing rapidly, that have indistinct edges, or have recurred after previous treatment. Some surgeons are also successfully using Mohs surgery on certain cases of melanoma. To better understand the process, visit www.skincancermohssurgery.org.
Susong Dermatology provides a full range of services, designed to provide you the knowledge, care, and guidance to beautiful radiant skin. Let us help you find the right approach to achieving the skin you always wanted.
2051 Hamill Road
Suite 301 and 210
Hixson, TN 37343
Mohs Surgery Office:
2158 Northgate Park Lane
Chattanooga, TN 37415
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Monday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Tuesday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Wednesday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM – Thursday
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Friday