MOHS Surgery is a procedure developed by surgeon Frederic Mohs, MD in the 1930s that is used to remove non-melanoma skin cancers. The technique has been improved & refined with time to become the best option for the removal of Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinomas. This procedure may also be used on certain in-situ melanomas.
This surgery is used for removing cancers that:
- are very aggressive
- have edges are not easily seen
- have recurred
- are in functionally or esthetically important areas.
Can all dermatologists perform Mohs Surgery?
While most dermatologists are exposed to Mohs Surgery during their dermatology residency, not all receive additional, specialized training.
At Beverly Dermatology, Dr. Roland Beverly performs all of our Mohs surgeries. A Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, Dr. Beverly completed additional advanced training in Mohs surgery and reconstruction to officially become a Mohs surgeon. He has been doing Mohs Surgery at our Orange County office since 1993.
Overview of the Procedure
During MOHS surgery, cancerous tissue is removed layer by layer so as to completely remove the skin cancer while affecting the least amount of healthy tissue. For this reason, MOHS is the best option to remove skin cancers on the head and neck, which are areas that carry an esthetic concern for patients. Furthermore, this procedure has the highest cure rate (approx 97%) of all skin cancer removal surgeries and affects the least amount of normal tissue.
Mohs surgery is unique in that tissue is microscopically examined during the procedure, which ensures that all of the cancerous cells are removed and eliminates the need to “estimate” if all of the tumor’s roots have been excised.
Step #1: Anesthesia is applied to the tumor and its surrounding area.
Step #2: The visible layer of the tumor is removed. A thin layer of tissue around the cancer area is also removed.
Step #3: A diagrammatic map, made by staining the removed tissues and analyzing them under the microscope, is used to help the surgeon to identify any remaining tumor roots. If cancer tissue remains, the surgeon removes an additional thin layer of tissue and analyzes it.
Step #4: The wound is closed. If the surgeon decides that it would be more comfortable for the patient to be asleep for this part of the procedure, an appropriate anesthesia will be used. In some cases, the size of the wound may be rather large after the surgery. At our office, Dr. Roland Beverly’s colleague, Dr. Robinson, a board certified facial plastic surgeon, will close the wounds in those instances to minimize scarring. If this is the case for you, Dr. Robinson will have a pre-operative consultation with you prior to your surgery. The closure of the wound by Dr. Robinson is usually covered by insurance companies.
If you are scheduled to have Mohs surgery at our office, we will give you a complimentary DVD detailing every step of the surgery (including images & diagrams) and what to expect on your surgery date.
For more information on Mohs surgery: