Mohs micrographic surgery is considered the single most effective technique for removing skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. An extremely precise skin cancer treatment, the Mohs procedure allows surgeons to remove a thin layer of tissue and examine it during rather than after surgery. As a result, surgeons know exactly when tissue is free of cancer cells so that healthy tissue is not removed unnecessarily.
Cure rates for patients who have Mohs micrographic surgery are higher than those for patients who have standard or other surgical methods to remove skin cancer.
Advantages Of Mohs Skin Cancer Treatment
- Precisely tracing and removing skin cancer cells that cannot be seen with the naked eye
- On-the-spot tissue examination to identify and remove malignant skin cancer cells to their roots
- Minimizing the chance skin cancer will regrow
- Preserving more normal tissue compared with standard or other surgical methods
- Less Mohs surgery scars and disfigurement
- Effective treatment for complex skin cancers, cancers of the face, sensitive areas, and visible areas
- Cure rates as high as 99% compared with 50% to 60% for other methods
- The highest cure rate for basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas
Our specialist is trained to perform Mohs micrographic surgery. In addition to having expertise in the surgical technique, surgeons with Mohs micrographic surgery training also have expertise in examining tissue (pathology) and reconstructive surgery.
What To Expect From Mohs Surgery For Skin Cancer
If you are scheduled to have Mohs micrographic surgery to remove your skin cancer, your specialist will discuss the benefits and risks of the surgery and tell you what you can expect. He will also instruct you about what to do to care for your wound and heal from your surgery.
The procedure will involve:
- Local anesthesia, which will be administered at the site of the tumor to numb the area.
- Removing the tumor by gently scraping the area with a semi-sharp, scoop-shaped instrument known as a curette, and a scalpel to precisely excise involved skin – a process that allows the surgeon to determine the margin between the tumor cells and healthy tissue.
- Tumor mapping to ensure the tumor is precisely located (mapped) and with reference to local landmarks such as the nose, cheek, and chin. The tissue will then be labeled and color-coded to correlate with its position on the map. The surgeon will then process and examine tissue sections to look for cancer cells. It takes approximately 60 minutes to process, stain, and examine each section of tissue. During this time, your wound will be bandaged, and you may leave the operating suite.
- Removing all cancer cells. If cancer cells are still present after tissue examination, your surgeon will return to the tumor area indicated on the map to remove, remap, color code, and examine another thin layer of tissue. The surgeon will continue this process until the cancer is completely removed.
- Reconstruction. In addition to having expertise in the surgical technique and pathologic process for examining tissue, surgeons trained in Mohs micrographic surgery are experts at reconstruction. Because the location and extent of cancer differs for each patient, your surgeon will tailor reconstruction to meet your needs, preserve normal function of the affected area, and yield the best aesthetic outcome with minimal Mohs surgery scars.