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Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery, also called Mohs or Mohs micrographic surgery, is a specialized treatment for removing skin cancer.  Your dermatologist will determine if Mohs surgery is appropriate for treating your skin cancer, depending on the type of skin cancer you have and its location.

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery is the surgical removal of skin cancer from your skin, layer by layer.  Mohs surgery is the only treatment method that allows the evaluation of skin cancer cells during the procedure, which results in the highest cure rate possible while removing the least amount of normal tissue.

How is Mohs Surgery performed?

Mohs surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a dermatologist’s office or outpatient surgical suite.  You remain awake during Mohs, and are given a local anesthetic to numb the surgical area.  The use of a local anesthetic instead of general anesthesia, which puts the patient to sleep, reduces recovery time and has fewer side effects.

If you are concerned about discomfort during the procedure, ask your Mohs surgeon if a mild sedative or additional pain reliever can be provided to make you feel more comfortable.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the Mohs surgeon removes the visible skin cancer.  The tissue that is removed is examined under a microscope by the Mohs surgeon to determine if there are any cancer cells remaining at the outer edges of the removed tissue.  During this time, you remain in the surgical suite or office.

If cancer cells are still present at any edge of the removed tissue, the Mohs surgeon will continue to cut out additional layers of skin or underlying affected tissue until the cancer cells are no longer seen.  This technique allows for the complete removal of the skin cancer, yet minimizes the removal of healthy skin.  In most cases, Mohs surgery can be completed within a day or less.

The Mohs Surgery Process
  1. The Mohs surgeon assesses the skin cancer and determines how deep it is.  The Mohs surgeon may refer to the growth under the skin as “roots”.
  2. The skin cancer on the skin’s surface is removed.
  3. The skin cancer under the surface of the skin is removed and viewed under a microscope to look for additional cancer cells.
  4. This step is repeated layer by layer until no cancer cells are found once viewed under a microscope.
  5. Mohs surgeons remove only tissue containing cancer, ensuring the patient keeps as much healthy tissue as possible.

We have an assortment of skin care pamphlets with more information on various conditions.  Stop in and pick some up to learn more!