Finding the best dermatologist in and around Hagerstown, MD or Martinsburg, WV means finding a highly qualified one.

Our providers are experts in treating common dermatologic conditions such as eczema, acne, or psoriasis. And they’re specialists in treating skin cancer.

The gold standard in skin cancer treatment has long been considered Mohs surgery, a micrographic procedure.  This technique, originally developed by and later named for Dr. Frederic E. Mohs, has many benefits. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, Mohs surgery is the most effective technique for treating many skin cancers.

What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery:

  • is done in stages during one office visit;
  • is performed using local anesthesia, making the patient comfortable while avoiding sedation;
  • includes while-you-wait lab results to ensure the removal of all cancerous cells;
  • removes cancerous cells using a tissue-sparing method;
  • leaves healthy tissue, resulting in the smallest possible scar.

Can all skin cancers be treated using Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery specifically treats basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer. It’s estimated that 3.6 million Americans are diagnosed with BCC every year. Often appearing as red patches, small growths, or bumps in the skin, BCC usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of the skin. Ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun or a tanning bed causes uncontrolled growth in basal cells, resulting in BCC.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. These cancerous lesions also more often form in sun-exposed areas of the body. However, they can also occasionally form elsewhere. They generally present as more rough or scaly than basal cell carcinomas.

Both BCC and SCC is most easily treated when detected early. The cure rate for both types of skin cancer is good, especially with early detection.

Can Mohs surgery be used to treat melanoma?

While less common than basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma is often a more serious form of skin cancer.

Melanoma occurs in the melanin of the skin, the pigment that gives skin its color. It’s also thought to be caused by sun exposure and can occur anywhere on the body. It usually shows up first as a mole or growth on the skin that changes in size, shape, or color.

The most effective form of treatment for melanoma is often different than that for BCC and SCC. The surgical procedure frequently preferred involves removing some healthy tissue in addition to the cancerous mole. Removing healthy tissue generally  produces a greater likelihood the cancer will not spread.

Our dermatology providers  in Hagerstown, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia will determine if Mohs surgery is right for you. Because no two patients are the same, neither is the care provided. We will provide the best dermatology care, personalized to your dermatology needs.

How can I find a qualified Mohs surgeon?

Mohs surgery is a dermatology procedure that requires specific training and skills. While it is performed by dermatologists, not all dermatology offices offer the treatment.

To be qualified to perform Mohs surgery, dermatologists must have receiving specified training on the procedure. Additionally, Mohs surgeons should be board-certified by the American Academy of Dermatology and have met the additional Mohs certification requirements.

Outside of large metropolitan areas, many patients must travel to find a Mohs surgeon.

However, our dermatology offices in Hagerstown and Martinsburg offer Mohs surgery close to home.

Our Mohs surgeon, Dr. Erik Hurst, MD has been performing Mohs surgery in our area since 2007. During his medical residency in dermatology at the Medical College of Georgia, he received extensive training on the procedure. Following his training, he received board certification in dermatology. Additionally, he met the stringent requirements for specific Mohs certification.

What should you do to prepare for your Mohs procedure?

If Mohs surgery is the best treatment plan for your skin cancer, knowing what to expect can ease pre-surgery jitters.

Prior to surgery, it is recommended that you:

  • Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen for 2 weeks. If you are unable to discontinue these drugs because they are prescribed by a physician, please let us know. We will advise you based on your specific medical needs.
  • Avoid alcohol for 48 hours prior to surgery.
  • If you are taking other medications, please let us knowWe will provide instructions on medication adjustments or other necessary steps based on what prescriptions you are taking.
  • Please alert our office if you require an antibiotic prior to dental work or surgery.
  • Let us know if you have any questions or concerns prior to surgery. It is our goal to relieve any nervousness about your procedure.
  • Review additional pre-operative instructions HERE.

What should I expect on the day of my Mohs surgery:

We know surgical procedures can cause anxiety and trepidation for many patients. Our dermatology staff in Hagerstown and Martinsburg want to ease your concerns. Preparing you with what to expect is one way we do this.

On the day of your procedure:

  • Eat a light breakfast (and lunch, if surgery is in the afternoon).
  • Take all medications as instructed during your pre-op appointment or as instructed by your physician.
  • Avoid moisturizers and make-up on the area that surgery will take place.
  • Shower prior to surgery so that you can avoid getting your wound wet for approximately 24-48 hours after surgery.
  • Expect to be in our office for approximately 3 hours. In some instances, your procedure make take less or more time, depending on the specifics of your cancer.
  • Dress in comfortable clothing.
  • Feel free to bring a book, magazine, or phone for entertainment or utilize the magazines and TVs we have available. You can expect some time in between stages of your procedure while your results are analyzed by our lab.

What should I expect after Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery requires little down time and a relatively easy recovery. With a little care and know-how you will be back to your normal activities quickly.

After your procedure:

  • Keep your wound dry and the initial dressing in tact for 24-48 hours.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise that places tension on the surgical site.
  • Follow instructions as outlined in our post-operative instructions found HERE.
  • Please don’t hesitate to contact our office if you have any concerns or questions.

At the Center for Dermatology in Martinsburg and Hagerstown, we’re honored to have the opportunity to provide care to you. Let us help meet your dermatology needs. Contact us at (304) 263-3933 or (240) 347-4937.

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