What is Mohs Microscopic Surgery?
Mohs Surgery is a highly specialized treatment for the total removal of skin cancer. This method differs from all other methods of treating skin cancer by the use of Complete Microscopic Examination of all tissues removed surgically as well as detailed mapping techniques to allow the surgeon to remove all of the roots and extensions of the skin cancer.
The procedure is begun after the skin is injected with a local anesthetic to make it completely numb. Then the visible cancer and a very thin layer of the skin are removed with a scalpel, carefully mapped, and examined microscopically. If there is still cancer seen under the microscope, another very thin layer of the skin is removed from that exact location. This may be repeated as often as necessary to completely remove the cancer.
What are the Advantages of Mohs Surgery?
By using the detailed mapping techniques and complete microscopic control, the Mohs surgeon can pinpoint areas involved with cancer that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, even the smallest microscopic root of cancer can be removed. The result is:
- The removal of as little healthy skin as possible.
- The highest possible percentage of curing the cancer.
What is the Cure Rate?
Mohs surgery is the most accurate method of removing skin cancers, even when previous forms of treatment have failed. In untreated cancers the percentage of cure is 99 percent. In previously treated cancers, where other forms of treatment offer only 80 percent change of success, Mohs surgery is 95 percent effective.
Is Hospitalization Necessary?
No. Mohs surgery is performed in a pleasant outpatient surgical suite and you may return home the same day.
Will the Surgery Leave a Scar?
Yes. Any from of treatment will leave a scar. However, because Mohs surgery removes as little normal tissue as possible, scarring is minimized. Immediately after the cancer is removed, we may choose:
- To allow the wound to heal by itself
- To repair the wound with stitches, a skin graft or flap, or
- To send the patient to the referring physician or surgeon for wound repair.
The decision is based on the safest method that will provide the best cosmetic results.