What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Surgery was developed in the 1930s by Frederic Mohs. It is a skin cancer treatment that has a very high cure rate for several common skin cancers and is designed to damage or remove as little healthy tissue as possible.

How is it Done?

Mohs Surgery requires a surgeon, histotechnician, pathologist and a reconstructive surgeon. In many cases, the same surgeon performs all four jobs. The skin cancer is surgically removed one layer at a time. The layer is prepared for microscopic examination where the surgeon/pathologist will check for cancer cells. The patient may be taken to the waiting room or a recovery room during the microscopic examination with a bandage applied to the wound. If the surgeon or pathologist determines that all of the cancer has been removed, stitches are applied and the patient is released. If they determine that other layers may be cancerous, the procedure is repeated until all of the cancer has been removed.

Why Mohs Surgery?

No general anesthetic is required for Mohs Surgery. Instead, a local anesthetic is used to numb the area being treated. This reduces downtime following the procedure and, in many cases, means that the patient may return to work or school the same day or the next day. The main benefit of this procedure is that it allows the surgeon to track the removal of the cancer to ensure that it is completely eliminated. At the same time, only a limited amount of healthy tissue is removed or damaged. This is especially beneficial when the procedure is performed on the face, neck or other cosmetically important areas of the body.

Who Can Perform Mohs Surgery?

A surgeon that performs Mohs Surgery must be highly trained before they are able to perform this procedure. In most cases, they must act as a surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon. Make sure that the surgeon performing the procedure is experienced and has undergone all of the appropriate training. Patients who are diagnosed with skin cancer are encouraged to discuss Mohs Surgery with their doctor. There is minimal pain after surgery and any pain that is present may be treated with Tylenol, although patients should discuss taking any medication with their doctor. Aspirin and aspirin-containing medication may promote bleeding. All patients are encouraged to follow their doctor's specific recovery instructions to ensure proper healing.

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