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Study shows 95 percent satisfaction rate with Mohs surgery

According to a study conducted by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern) dermatologists, 95% of patients who received Mohs surgery for melanoma treatment reported long-term satisfaction with the results.

Results of the study—the first to poll patient satisfaction for Mohs surgery—was published online ahead of print in Dermatologic Surgery (Jan. 10, 2020).

“Patient satisfaction is becoming such an important part of medicine these days, so we wanted to look to see what we can do to get patients more satisfied with the care that they are getting for their skin cancer treatment. That is a big area of interest for a lot of the subspecialties,” said Dr. Divya Srivastava in a press release. Dr. Srivastava is a UT Southwestern board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained Mohs surgeon who led the study and has been specializing in Mohs surgery for the past decade.

While more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, how patients are treated differs widely.

“We are working to determine what treatments garner the highest satisfaction to better inform guidelines and decision-making,” said Dr. Srivastava.

UT Southwestern researchers surveyed 42 of its patients who had Mohs surgery. A majority of the patients surveyed were white males with an average age of 69 years.

Results of the study suggests patients are finding the long-term benefits of excision with 100% margin control using Mohs surgery outweigh any perceived inconvenience, according to the researchers.

At UT Southwestern, dermatologic surgeons also provide patients with immediate local tissue reconstruction, using advanced reconstruction techniques to diminish the appearance of scars.

Dermatologists expect the need for Mohs surgery to increase as the baby boomer population ages. The surgery can also be used to remove basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

“If melanoma is left untreated, it definitely has the potential to grow in the skin and even spread to lymph nodes and organs,” Dr. Srivastava said. “It can metastasize.”

People with fair skin, hair, and eyes are at the highest risk. A few severe sunburns in a person's lifetime increases their chance of developing skin cancer.

“Once you have one melanoma, you are at risk for more. It is a marker that you have had a lot of sun exposure in your life,” said Dr. Srivastava.

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