Mohs Surgery provides the highest cure rate for many patients suffering from various types of skin cancer from basal cell carcinoma to melanoma and many in between. At the same time, the procedure is designed to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, which may be especially important in cases in which the procedure is used on areas of the face or neck where as much healthy tissue as possible should be preserved.
Mohs Surgery allows the surgeon to track the removal of cancer to ensure the complete elimination of tumors. The complete surgical margin is examined instead of just random sections of the margin. Surgery, pathology and reconstructive surgery are all part of Mohs Surgery and surgeons are required to be specially trained to perform this procedure.
The Steps of Mohs Surgery
A local anesthetic is used to numb the area around the cancer. The procedure is usually performed in a doctor's office or clinic.
A scalpel is used to cut out the visible tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue. The tissue is processed and put on slides and stained by a histotechnician so that a pathologist may examine it for cancer cells. During this time, the patient may wait in the waiting room with a small bandage over the treated area or may remain in the doctor's office.
If all of the cancer was removed, a reconstructive surgeon will repair the skin. If it is determined that cancer is still present, the surgeon will examine the areas where cancer remains and will remove the remaining cancer. This process is completed until no more cancer is found. In some cases, one surgeon performs all four tasks. In most cases, the surgeon will also act as the pathologist and reconstructive surgeon.