It is important to note that what is visible on the skin surface may be a small portion of the growth. Beneath the skin, the cancerous cells can cover a much larger region with no defined borders. In these cases, Dr. Rancati may remove small parts of the tissue before immediately sending them to the pathologist to discover and define the edges of the cancerous area. These pieces of tissue are quickly frozen so they can be examined for cancer cells at the time of cancer removal to ensure all cancer has been removed.
Alternatively, Dr. Rancati may recommend a specialized technique called Mohs surgery, which uses multiple specially prepared frozen sections to look for an area where the skin cancer has not spread. If clear margins are found, he can reconstruct the wound; otherwise, he will remove more tissue until the entire region has a clear margin.