What Is Mohs Surgery?

skin cancer treatments

Mohs surgery was developed in the early-mid 1900’s by Frederic Mohs. It is a way of microscopically removing skin cancer, which allows for the highest cure rate of any skin cancer surgery.

Why Do I Need Mohs Surgery?

Mohs is indicated for certain types of skin cancer and in certain clinical situations only. Your dermatologist may suggest Mohs surgery for you if you have any of the following:

  • A large or aggressive skin cancer
  • A skin cancer on your face, scalp, hand, foot, or genitalia
  • A skin cancer that recurred after treatment

What is it Like to Have Mohs Surgery?

What Is Mohs Surgery?

On the day of your surgery, your Mohs surgeon will identify the proper site for removal and anesthetize the area with the same numbing medicine used for the biopsy. Then, he or she will remove only the visibly damaged tissue (no healthy tissue will be removed). The office staff will then place a bandage over the area, and you will wait for the tissue to be processed (10-30 minutes usually). Once your Mohs surgeon has looked at your specimen under the microscope, he or she will know if there is any skin cancer left and, if so, where exactly it is still located. If your skin cancer is not completely clear, the surgeon will take another piece from the concerning location only. This goes back to processing, and so on, until all of the skin cancer has been removed. Once everything is removed, your surgeon will determine the best cosmetic outcome, either by placing stitches, letting the area heal on its own, or perhaps by sending you to a plastic surgeon or wound specialist.

Mohs surgery is typically done in an office setting. The patient is fully awake during the surgery, but is quite comfortable, as the area being treated is completely numb. Feel free to bring a family member or friend with you to keep you company. We always provide snacks for our patients, but you may also bring something to eat if you like, keeping in mind that the amount of time you are in the office is unpredictable, as it depends on the extent of your skin cancer.

What are the Advantages of Mohs Surgery?

  • Mohs has the highest cure rate of any skin cancer surgery (>98%)
  • Mohs allows you to keep as much healthy skin as possible, because the surgeon only removes the cancerous cells. This typically leads to more favorable cosmetic outcomes.

What are the Disadvantages of Mohs Surgery?

  • Mohs surgery will take longer to perform than a regular surgical removal, as the patient must wait for the tissue to process. This can take anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes per stage, as mentioned above.

How Long Will Mohs Surgery Take to Perform?

  • There is no way to predict how long the procedure will take, as the length of time depends on how far the skin cancer extends beyond the obvious lesion

For more information or to schedule a consultation contact us at either our Boynton Beach or Boca Raton office.