The surgical portion of the practice is under the direction of Dr. Gary Monheit. Skin cancer is a major portion of this practice with a tertiary referral center for Mohs micrographic surgery and plastic reconstruction. Dr. Monheit is a Mohs College Fellow performing surgery daily in our surgical center and at the Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital. He is the first physician to perform Mohs surgery for skin cancer in Alabama and his is the premier referral practice for over 30 years. Over 2000 skin cancer patients are treated each year requiring multiple procedures for cancer removal, reconstruction, and then preventive treatment for premalignancies, including skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, and peeling techniques. These resurfacing techniques have been performed in a therapeutic manner for diffuse keratoses, squamous cell carcinoma in-situ, basal cell nevus syndrome and other malignant and premalignant conditions. Patients with significant photoaging skin are followed over decades for cancer surveillance and ongoing therapy.
A fellowship training program under Dr. Monheit’s direction has been a part of the practice for 15 years with ongoing research projects involving the detection and treatment of skin cancer. The Surgery Center includes a histopathology laboratory for rapid frozen section analysis of skin biopsies of surgical specimens. Should your physician find a skin cancer, fortunately there are a wide array of medical and surgical treatment options. The choice depends on the type of cancer, the location and our patient’s needs.
Common surgical procedures:
Excisional Surgery involves the removal of the entire lesion along with some of the surrounding tissue as a safety margin. This area is usually stitched closed after the cancer is removed. This procedure is performed in our office and the removed tissue is then sent to the laboratory for microscopic review to be sure all the cancer is gone.
Of all treatments for skin cancer, Mohs micrographic surgery offers the highest cure rate for skin cancer: up to 99% with the smallest scars, according to the American College of Mohs Surgery. Plus, this state-of-the-art method of skin cancer removal offers the lowest possibility of skin cancer regrowth and less risk of scarring than with traditional methods. With this highly specialized procedure, the skin cancer tumor is accurately and precisely removed down to its roots, giving it little or no chance to grow back.
Your physician will determine your needs for Mohs surgery and our staff will prepare you for the procedure. Our AAAHC approved surgical center includes a CLIA approved laboratory for analysis of the tissue during the procedure. For selective patients we also perform the Mohs surgical procedure at the Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital. We also work with selective Plastic and Oculoplastic surgeons for advanced and complicated surgical cases.
Dr. Monheit has over thirty years of experience performing Mohs surgery, reconstruction and other procedures for skin cancer. In our state of the art surgery center you will be treated effectively and with compassion.
Treatment of certain skin cancers may lead to scarring. Some patients may qualify for a less invasive treatment known as superficial radiation therapy. Superficial radiation delivers radiation therapy using X-rays. The beam only penetrates the surface of the skin. This type of therapy avoids deep tissue damage and minimizes scarring, particularly around the face.
What to Expect
Superficial radiation therapy is painless. It is a nonsurgical outpatient procedure. Depending on the area of the body being treated, you may be asked to lie down on an exam table, stand or sit upright in a chair. Treatment lasts a few minutes. The area being treated may feel warm during treatment. Your physician may recommend multiple therapy sessions.
Possible Side Effects
Side effects of superficial radiation therapy are limited to the part of your body receiving the radiation. Side effects may include:
- Hair loss
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma