What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery is used to remove skin cancer from the face, scalp, hands, feet and other sensitive areas of the body. In the hands of experienced physicians, the procedure is highly successful and results in minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
Mohs surgery is often cited as having the highest cure rate for the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma. It’s also effective in the treatment of recurrent basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinomas and more rare skin cancers.
How Does Mohs Surgery Work?
In this delicate procedure, your doctor removes cancerous tissue in thin horizontal layers, rather than by making a deeper vertical incision. After the removal of each layer, the surgeon examines the tissue under a microscope and continues until the layer of tissue is cancer-free.
Mohs is done using local anesthetic and involves the following steps:
- Surgical removal of a thin layer of horizontal tissue from the lesion
- Mapping of the tissue by freezing and cutting the tissue using a machine called a “cryostat,” and then staining the tissue
- Examination of the tissue by the surgeon to determine if there are cancer cells present
- Repeat of the process until the tissue is cancer-free
- Reconstructive repair to achieve the best functional and cosmetic result
The surgery may take several hours. You may experience mild discomfort and given pain medicine, if needed.
Read more about Mohs micrographic surgery in our online Health Library.