Outpatient Surgery Center Performs Innovative Procedure to Treat Skin Cancer
A new procedure and technology allows patients to be treated for skin cancer completely in one day. Within the past few months, the Mercy Memorial outpatient Surgery Center has added this new technology and procedure to treat skin cancer, which has lead to enhanced service, improved quality of care and safety, and added further convenience for patients. The staff has completed additional training to assist with this innovative surgery most often performed at large academic medical centers. It is one more step in providing excellent care and comprehensive services close to home for the residents of Monroe and the surrounding communities.
The innovative procedure is Mohs Micrographic Surgery performed by Abdel El Tal, M.D., a surgeon with the Wayne State University Physician Group. Mohs surgery was originally developed in the 1930s. In the last 80 years, the medical field has refined the technique and considers the procedure the single most effective technique for removing Basal Cell Carcinomas and Squamous Cell Carcinomas, two of the most common types of skin cancers. This method enables the surgeon to remove all of the cancer cells while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. During the surgery the Dr. El Tal removes one layer of tissue at a time and examines the specimen under a microscope. The margins of the specimen are examined for cancer cells. If the disease is present, another layer of tissue is removed and the examination is again performed under the microscope. This process is repeated until the margins of the specimen are clear and cancer-free.
The results of Mohs Surgery are impressive. A minimal amount of tissue is removed, leaving a much smaller surgical site. A smaller surgical site typically heals faster and leaves less scarring. Plus cure rates for Mohs Surgery patients is 98 percent or higher, far above the cure rate for standard excision techniques. Mohs Surgery may also provide the patient with the greatest chance of cure when other forms of treatment have failed.
“Another advantage of the Mohs Surgery is that in most cases Dr. El Tal is able to remove the cancerous tissue and repair the surgical site all in one day,” stated Laura Harris, R.N., manager of the Mercy Memorial Outpatient Surgery Center. “Plus our patients do not have to wait days or weeks for a final report. Dr. El Tal methodically removes the diseased tissue layer by layer, examines it under the microscope and is able to discuss the outcome with the patient that day. This alleviates the anxiety of waiting weeks for test results.”
With more than two million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States each year and increasing each year, Mohs Surgery is vital to effective treatment. Also, most skin cancer cases affect visible areas of the body, most notably the head, face, feet and hands. With this in mind, smaller incisions and less scarring is often a consideration for the patient.
Dr. Abdel El Tal is a member of the Mercy Memorial Hospital Medical Staff, is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and specializes in the Mohs Micrographic Surgery technique. His group has office hours by appointment at 1310 North Macomb Street, Monroe. New patients are welcome and most insurance are accepted. His office phone is (734) 457-4055.
As with any cancer, prevention is often the best defense. Dr. El Tal and Ms. Harris recommend persons to:
• Avoid being exposed to the sun’s rays during the hottest part of the day, usually 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Apply sunscreen often during outdoor activities or wear protective clothing
• Avoid tanning beds
• Examine the exposed areas of your skin on a monthly basis
• Schedule annual physical exams with your physician
• Discuss areas of concern with your physician – especially unusual spots, scaly areas of skin, or moles that have changed shape, size or color