What is Mohs?
Mohs (Mohs Micrographic Surgery) is a specialized procedure for the removal of skin cancers. It is named after Dr. Frederick Mohs, who created the technique that allows the selective removal of areas of skin involved with cancer while preserving the surrounding normal tissue as much as possible. Mohs offers a 99% chance for complete removal because of the systematic search for the “roots” of the skin cancer. The surgery is extremely useful for large skin cancer, cancer with indistinct borders, tumors, or cancer near vital functional or cosmetic structures where other forms of therapy have failed.
There are two steps to every Mohs surgery. First, the visible portion of the tumor is surgically removed and then the tissue is processed and examined. The physician will examine the entire surface and edges of the tissue that was removed and if any tumor is seen during the exam, its location is established and a thin layer of additional tissue is removed. The exam is then repeated until there is no more tumor seen under the microscopic examination.
Once the skin cancer has been completely removed, the physician will follow one of the following methods: letting the wound heal on its own, close the wound with stitches, or close the wound with a skin graft / flap. During the initial consultation, all options will be discussed; however, the best method is typically determined once all cancer cells have been removed and the area has been accessed. Should additional reconstruction be necessary, we may refer you to additional surgical specialists for repair.
Your wound will require additional care in the weeks following the surgery. Instructions will be provided to you before leaving the office on the day of your surgery. You should be sure to plan on keeping it covered and avoid strenuous activity for at least one to two weeks. If stitches have been placed, we will remove them a few weeks after surgery and your final wound check will take place roughly four weeks after surgery. If you have any questions or concerns during recovery, please contact us immediately.
Studies show that once you develop a skin cancer, there is a strong possibility that you will develop other skin cancers in the future. Should you notice any suspicious spots or moles on your skin, contact your medical professional right away for an evaluation.