MOHS MICROSCOPIC SURGERY
What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs microscopic surgery is a specialized procedure performed to remove cancerous tumors from the skin. Mohs surgery is named in honor of Dr. Frederic Mohs, the physician who developed the technique. It is most commonly performed to treat basal and squamous cell carcinoma, but can be used to treat other types of skin cancers.
For Patients with a Diagnosis of Melanoma, Lentigo Maligna or Atypical Nevus/Dysplastic Mole we perform a process we refer to as “Slow Mohs”
How is Mohs Surgery Performed?
Mohs Surgery is performed in a surgical suite in the dermatology clinic. The surgeon will meet with you prior to the surgery and answer any questions that you may have. Local anesthesia will be injected into to the area that will be treated, so you’ll be awake during the surgery. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon will remove the visible skin cancer and a thin layer of surrounding skin. You will then be bandaged and will wait as the tissue is processed in the lab. The Mohs surgeon will examine the tissue under a microscope. If skin cancer cells are seen, then an additional layer of skin is removed and examined. Once all the skin cancer is removed, the Mohs surgeon will decide if the wound will be treated with stitches or with a different type of repair. Some wounds will heal on their own.
What is the Benefit of Mohs Surgery?
Due to the way that the tissue is processed, the Mohs surgeon will examine all ends or “margins” of the tissue and can see where a skin cancer starts and stops. For this reason, Mohs surgery can offer a higher cure rate (98-99%) than other treatments for skin cancer. The procedure also allows the Mohs surgeon to remove only the smallest amount of tissue necessary to remove the skin cancer. This may help to reduce scarring in the treated area(s).
Who is a Candidate for Mohs Surgery?
This treatment is most commonly chosen for tumors that are in areas that are cosmetically sensitive (i.e. face, neck), for aggressive or recurrent skin cancers, and for patients with other risk factors. Your physician will work with you to determine if Mohs is an appropriate treatment option for you.