In general, there are 2 technical approaches to the removal of skin cancer when on the head and neck:
• Mohs Surgery: Mohs surgery, also known as Mohs Micrographic Surgery, is a surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. This type of surgery is used to treat non-melanoma skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), as well as some types of melanomas. It is typically done by a specialized dermatologist who has specific training in Mohs Micrographic Surgery.
• Standard Excision: This refers to the excision of the skin cancer as well as an area of normal tissue surrounding it. The amount of normal tissue also excised with the cancer depends on the size, location, and type of skin cancer. This method may be appropriate for some types and locations of skin cancers, but is often not the preferred method if the skin cancer is near certain important facial structures such as the nose, lips, or eyes.
Following excision of the skin cancer by either of the above methods, skin cancer reconstruction can be performed. Reconstructive surgery may be performed under local anesthesia, for smaller areas, but may require intravenous or general anesthesia, if the defect is larger or in a more complex area. Regardless of the type of anesthesia, skin cancer reconstructive procedures are generally outpatient procedures.