Mohs Surgery

Benefits of Mohs

 

  • Highest cure rate among skin cancer treatment modalities.

Studies have shown that Mohs surgery can have a 99% cure rate or better for most skin cancers. When compared with other types of treatment, Mohs surgery has been shown to have the highest cure rate for skin cancers.

 
  • Reduces errors that can occur with other skin cancer treatments.
Many skin cancers are removed with standard surgery – this involves one physician as the surgeon who removes the skin cancer and another physician as the pathologist who checks the specimen to make sure it is cancer free. Mohs surgery uses only one physician as both the surgeon and pathologist. This removes the possibility of miscommunication between surgeon and pathologist.
 
  • Increases accuracy of skin cancer removal and immediate results.
Many skin cancer treatments incompletely check or may fail to check the tissue margins and also have delayed pathology results. This can result in cancer recurrence and several trips to the operating room. A unique aspect of the Mohs
procedure is that the “tissue margin,” or outer edge of the specimen, is checked immediately to confirm that the cancer is gone. With Mohs, the specimen is processed using horizontal sections as opposed to vertical sections (usually used following standard surgical excision) after the patient has undergone repair and left the facility. Horizontal sectioning gives a more complete view of the tissue margins. We like to say “Mohs is truth” because Mohs gives you “The Truth” about the presence of cancer at the tissue margins. There is no better analysis of the tissue margins than you can get with Mohs.
 
  • Decreases the amount of healthy tissue removed, and minimizes surgical risks and scarring.
The precision of Mohs in detecting cancer spares healthy tissue. Because the surgeon has confidence that the cancer will be detected using Mohs, a smaller amount of skin around the cancer can be removed. If cancer is microscopically detected at the margin of the specimen, then a paper (or digital) map of the specimen is marked by the Mohs surgeon indicating the location of the cancer. This map is then taken back to the patient in the procedure room and an additional thin layer or “stage” is taken exactly where the cancer is marked on the map. This process is called “microscopic mapping” and is only done with the Mohs procedure. Because the cancer is removed with only a small amount of normal skin, surgical risks and scarring are kept to a minimum.
 
  • Performed under local anesthetic.
The Mohs procedure is done in the physician’s office under local anesthetic so the patient is not put to sleep. The actual surgical procedure only lasts about 5 minutes but it takes an hour or two to check the tissue. The patient and their family can sit in the waiting room or the treatment room while the tissue is being checked. A wet bandage is placed on the wound to keep it protected while the patient is waiting for the tissue to be processed.
 
  • Can be less expensive than other treatments.
With other skin cancer treatments, the possibility of cancer recurrence or not removing the cancer in one visit is higher. This can result in multiple trips to the operating room.
 
  • Can result in quicker recovery.
Depending on the extent of the surgery, it will take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks to completely heal from Mohs. Because as much healthy tissue is preserved as possible and the procedure is performed under local anesthetic, Mohs surgery patients usually recover from the procedure quickly.

Mohs Resources

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