10 Things to know about Mohs Micrographic Surgery!
1. Mohs surgery was developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s
2. This surgery is considered the most effective way to remove Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Other therapies exist, but Mohs has the highest cure rate – approx. 99% for new cancers and 95% for recurrent cancers!
3. Melanoma is not typically removed with Mohs surgery because it is more difficult to examine microscopically and out of concern that any potential cells left behind may spread to other parts of the body. However, newer updates and improvements are making the removal of early stage melanoma possible with Mohs surgery. Once melanoma has spread, it must be treated by an oncologist.
4. During the surgery, a thin layer of skin is removed and examined under a microscope. If cancer cells are still present, another thin layer is removed. This process allows for complete removal of the cancerous cells while preserving the most amount of healthy tissue.
5. Not all dermatologists can do Mohs surgery. All dermatologists learn about Mohs surgery in residency, but Mohs surgeons complete additional advanced training. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer and plan to have Mohs surgery, be sure that your physician has completed this additional training. Dr. Roland Beverly has undergone this intensive program and is a Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. He has been performing the procedure at our office since 1993.
6. The time of the procedure varies depends on the size of the skin cancer & how deeply the roots go. As this surgery is done by removing a thin layer at a time, the number of layers removed will determine the total procedure time. You will get an estimated procedure time at your pre-op appointment, but the final time will vary. In general, the typical surgery lasts 2-4 hours.
7. Local anesthesia is used for Mohs. General anesthesia may be used in some cases.
8. Mohs surgery may leave a scar. On areas of aesthetic concern, such as the face, a plastic surgeon may close the surgical excision to minimize scarring. At our office, Dr. Ernest Robinson (Robinson Plastic Surgery), who is board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, will often perform these types of closures. This is typically covered by insurance.
9. Mohs may be performed in the dermatologist’s office or in a surgery center.
10. The surgery will treat that instance of skin cancer, but you may get skin cancer in a different or nearby location in the future. People with a history of skin cancer are at increased risk of getting it again. Be Sun Safe (Sun Safety tips) to protect your skin from future UV damage & reduce your risk of recurrence!
For More Information on Mohs Surgery:
Beverly Dermatology – Mohs Surgery http://www.beverlyskin.com/services/mohs-surgery
American Society for Mohs Surgery -- Patient Information brochure http://www.mohssurgery.org/files/public/patient_information_brochure.pdf
Skin Cancer Organization – Mohs Surgery http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/mohs-surgery