Moh's surgery is an operative procedure used to treat common skin cancers. For primary basal cell carcinoma, which is the most common one, the cure rate is between 97 to 98.9 percent. With squamous cell carcinoma, unique cancers that appear in different parts of the body, the cure rate is often less. Studies show that for some types of melanoma, Moh's surgery has a cure rate of 52 percent.
Skin cancers are removed at a 45 degree angle with the utilization of light microscopy for the ability to view residual tumor tissue, allowing for a lower recurrence rate. If there is residual cancer, the process of the excision is repeated again until the tumor is completely removed.
Initial Results of Moh's Surgery
One or more wounds is the initial result after Moh's surgery. Some may have a bandage and others who have the wound corrected with the use of skin grafts will usually have a pressure dressing as well. For the individuals that undergo more elaborate repairs or for those with a large amount of photodamage, special creams and photodynamic therapy (non-conventional light therapy) may be suggested.
In addition, there may be some bleeding and possibly infection. Bleeding and infection is not common unless the patients do not follow the post-operative care recommendations for the cleaning and changing of the bandages for the wounds, or if the repair was of a larger nature, such as with large flaps.
Temporary nerve loss may be experienced in the area where the tumor was removed.
Long Term Results of Moh's Surgery
Some scarring may be visible, but this is usually temporary and often fades after a while. Nerve loss is normally recovered over time. Although the success rates are good, there is always the chance in the long-term that there could be a cancer recurrence with Moh's surgery.