Mohs Micrographic surgery is a specialized surgical treatment for skin cancer which can provide the highest cure rate while removing the least amount of surrounding healthy tissue.
What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery is a meticulous procedure that relies on the accuracy of the microscope, instead of the human eye, to help ensure that all cancer cells are removed when a skin cancer is treated.
Mohs surgery requires the specialized skill and training of a Mohs dermatologic surgeon who acts as a surgeon, pathologist and reconstructive surgeon. (A pathologist is a physician trained to diagnose disease by examining cells and tissue under a microscope).
Initially, the Mohs surgeon functions as a surgeon to remove the visible tumor and a margin of healthy tissue.
Then, the Mohs surgeon works as a pathologist when he/she meticulously “maps” the removed tissue and divides it into smaller sections to be examined under the microscope for remaining cancer cells. With the Mohs procedure, the surgeon can examine 100 percent of the tissue that surrounds the tumor. This results in a skin cancer cure rate of 97 to 99 percent. Other pathology techniques typically examine only a small portion of the tissue margin.
Finally, the Mohs surgeon functions as a reconstructive surgeon in repairing the wound left by a surgery. Mohs surgeons make every effort to preserve cosmetic appearance and minimize scarring. Reconstruction may be performed by simply sewing up the wound, or by using techniques such as skin flaps and grafts. Occasionally, wounds are allowed to heal on their own (without stitches, flaps or grafts). Your Mohs surgeon will help you choose the reconstruction technique that is best for you.