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Surgical dermatology & Mohs surgery

Surgical Dermatology and Mohs surgery for treating skin conditions

When you’re concerned about a suspicious mole or a chronic skin condition, our dermatologists are here to provide the answers and treatment you need.

At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, our board-certified dermatologists go through extensive training in diagnosing and treating serious skin conditions that require medical or surgical treatment. Our team is made up of dermatologists who specialize in a variety of skin surgeries including Mohs surgery.

We have the largest group of surgical dermatologists and Mohs surgeons in the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin, so we can provide you with expert care close to home. Our surgeons go through advanced training, making it possible for them to perform Mohs surgery on even the most complex cancerous tissue.

Types of surgeries we perform

Our surgical dermatologist team is expertly trained in performing surgeries for many complicated skin conditions. Common types of skin surgery include:

  • Cryosurgery – Cryosurgery is a treatment used to treat skin tags, age spots and early-stage basal and squamous cell carcinomas. We use liquid nitrogen to freeze and remove the growth. It’s usually applied with a cotton swab or sprayed on the growth. You might experience slight pain, but local anesthesia is rarely needed.
  • Electrosurgery – Electrosurgery, also known as desiccation or electrodesiccation, is a highly-effective treatment used to remove precancerous growths and low-risk cancerous tumors. A dermatologist will apply local anesthetic, then use a micro-needle to transmit high-frequency electric currents into the lesion for one or two seconds. You may experience mild pain and swelling but can expect minimal recovery time.
  • Excision – An excision is when a dermatologist surgically removes harmful or unwanted tissue. It’s most commonly used to remove early-stage melanomas and basal cell carcinomas, but can be used to remove other skin concerns, like acne scars. It’s highly effective and can usually be completed in one appointment.
  • Mohs surgery – Mohs micrographic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that removes skin cancer cells layer by layer. It has the highest cure rate of all skin cancer removal methods and has a quick recovery time.

How Mohs surgery works

Mohs micrographic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that removes skin cancer cells. It has the highest cure rate of all skin cancer removal methods, and it’s usually the best treatment option for certain types of skin cancers, like basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove all the skin cancer cells while protecting as much healthy skin as possible. To protect healthy tissue, our doctors remove tissue from the affected area layer by layer. After each layer of tissue is removed, we’ll examine the cells under a microscope to check for any cancer cells. By examining each layer of skin, we are able to remove even microscopic cancer cells deeply rooted in your skin and clear your skin of cancer cells.

Preparing for Mohs surgery

Knowing what to expect and how to prepare for Mohs surgery can help your procedure go as smoothly as possible.

We can’t be sure exactly how long Mohs surgery will take, so we recommend that you block off your whole day for the procedure. You’re welcome to bring a friend or loved one to help pass the time.

Make sure to dress comfortably so your doctor can easily access the cancer cells during the procedure. Also, you’ll probably be tired after your surgery. Arrange a ride home so you don’t have to drive.

We’ll provide more information about what to expect during the procedure and how to prepare. Our dermatologists will be able to answer all your questions and help put you at ease.

Preparing to go home after Mohs surgery

You’ll be able to leave the clinic on the same day as your Mohs surgery. Plan to spend the rest of the day recovering. If a follow-up visit is necessary, we’ll help you schedule an appointment. Sometimes the affected area needs stitches or another procedure to make sure your skin closes and heals properly. Our Mohs surgeons work closely with our ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors and plastic surgeons who are experts in facial surgery.

Mohs typically has a quick recovery time. The surgeon or nurse will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your skin. We want to make sure you feel comfortable caring for yourself and know what to look for to make sure you’re healing properly.

If your dermatologist recommended you have Mohs surgery, we have expert surgeons.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)