What is Mohs procedure?
Mohs surgery, also called Mohs micrographic surgery, is a surgical procedure to remove common types of skin cancers like squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) among other types. The procedure involves removing thin layers of tissue and assessing it for signs of cancer under a microscope. This allows the surgeon to see where the cancer stops. The process is repeated until there are no signs of remaining skin cancer.
The benefits of Mohs surgery, compared to other treatment methods, is that the surgeon is able to remove all of the skin cancer without removing any of the healthy tissue around it. This process reduces the need for other treatments or additional surgical procedures. Cancer recurrence rates following Mohs procedure are 1%, making it the gold standard for skin cancer removal.
Mohs Procedure: What to Expect
On the day of the procedure the patient remains awake and alert. An anesthetic medication will be injected into the area that will be treated to numb the site. The injection only numbs that area that will be operated on. Once the anesthetic has taken effect the surgery can begin. The surgeon first starts by removing the visible skin cancer cells with a thin layer of surrounding skin. The tissue is then sent to the lab to be processed and assessed by the surgeon. In the meantime you will be bandaged so you can wait comfortably for the results. If the surgeon still sees cancer cells remaining in the tissue, additional layers of tissue will be removed until no skin cancer cells remain. At this time, the surgeon will determine how to repair the area. Some wounds heal nicely without stitches and others require stitches. Occasionally a skin graft or other type of surgery will be needed to repair the treated area. After the procedure the patient can go home . The follow up with the surgeon will vary depending on individual patient needs.