Mohs micrographic surgery has proven to be one of the most effective skin cancer treatments available. But what does it mean when your dermatologist suggests it for scalp lesions? Here are a few things you should know.
As we covered above, Mohs micrographic procedures are most commonly used to treat skin cancer. There are two excellent reasons for this: it's effective and it preserves the majority of healthy tissue around a tumor. Mohs surgery works by systematically removing sections of cancerous tissue and testing them until the test results show only healthy skin cells. At that point, the procedure ends and most -- if not all -- of the healthy tissue around the affected area is preserved. In addition, Mohs is commonly used on aggressive skin cancers because it has such a high success rate. Whether a scalp lesion turns out to be cancer or not, Mohs is going to effectively remove the lesion and preserve more healthy tissue than traditional procedures.
While Mohs is most commonly used to treat skin cancer, that doesn't necessarily mean that cancer is what caused your scalp lesion. Some scalp lesions can be caused by injury or inflammatory skin conditions. Others can be caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Even still, others can be caused by harsh hair products or shampoos. If your dermatologist is recommending Mohs, then it's likely your scalp lesions were caused by skin cancer or some kind of infection. Even scar tissue can be the culprit behind scalp lesions. If you want that to be removed, Mohs surgery actually may be the best option for you.
The best way to determine the cause of any kind of skin lesion -- especially on the scalp, which is covered with hair -- is to have a biopsy done. For a skin biopsy to happen with your scalp lesion, your dermatologist will take a small sample from the lesion and send it off to a lab for testing. It may come back as benign scar tissue, or it could come back testing positive as basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma. Fortunately, Mohs can treat both of these skin cancers quite effectively. But if your dermatologist is suggesting Mohs, they may already suspect skin cancer is present. A biopsy will help confirm that and help you get the best treatment for your skin lesion.
Scalp lesions from injuries may seem unavoidable at times, but in the vast majority of cases, you can take preventive steps. For example, if you have fair skin, make sure to wear sunscreen and protective headgear when you go out in the sun. This can help reduce your risk of developing skin cancer too. If you have sensitive skin, pay close attention to the products you're putting in your hair. In addition, you can work with your dermatologist to develop a hair and scalp care routine that won't irritate any skin conditions you already have.
Being diagnosed with skin lesions and then hearing about Mohs can be a lot to take in. If you have questions about spots on your scalp or want to set up a skin cancer screening, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today.