What Is MOHS Surgery?
Originally developed in the 1930s, MOHS or Micro Graphic surgery has been refined into the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for an increasing variety of skin cancer types. With the Mohs technique, physicians can precisely identify and remove an entire tumor while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed. Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment for most types of skin cancer.
When is MOHS surgery recommended?
Mohs is often recommended for large tumors, tumors in hard-to-treat places and tumors that have returned. It is also especially recommended for tumors in areas such as the face or ears, where it’s important cosmetically to remove as little tissue as possible.
What is the MOHS procedure?
The affected area is numbed, and our specially trained dermatologist removes the skin cancer in thin layers. Each layer is inspected under a microscope for cancer cells. The process is repeated until no cancer cells are seen. This method preserves as much healthy tissue as possible.
What should I expect from recovery?
Our care team will provide additional information but here are our FAQ.
Pain medication: Most people have little pain. If medication is needed, we advise patients to take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol), and to avoid aspirin and similar products because they can cause bleeding.
Bleeding: The wound bleeds for a few patients. Applying pressure with a gauze pad for 20 minutes once or twice usually solves the problem. Call your doctor if bleeding persists.
Bruising and itching: Swelling and bruising are common, particularly for surgeries near the eyes or mouth. This usually subsides within four or five days. Itchiness or redness around the wound usually goes away within a couple of days.
Numbness: The area around the wound may be numb, possibly for months or longer. Check with your doctor if you’re concerned.
Follow-up visits: You will have follow-up visits until the wound heals. After that, we recommend follow-up visits with a dermatologist every six months for two years, then once a year after that.
What Is The Success Rate of MOHS Surgery?
The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached (called clear margins). Because the ACMS surgeon is specially trained as a cancer surgeon, pathologist, and reconstructive surgeon, Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer – up to 99%.
What Are The Advantages of MOHS Surgery?
Mohs surgery is unique and so effective because of the way the removed tissue is microscopically examined, evaluating 100% of the surgical margins. The pathologic interpretation of the tissue margins is done on site by the Mohs surgeon, who is specially trained in the reading of these slides and is best able to correlate any microscopic findings with the surgical site on the patient. Advantages of Mohs surgery include:
- Ensuring complete cancer removal during surgery, virtually eliminating the chance of the cancer growing back
- Minimizing the amount of healthy tissue lost
- Maximizing the functional and cosmetic outcome resulting from surgery
- Repairing the site of the cancer the same day the cancer is removed, in most cases
- Curing skin cancer when other methods have failed