Mohs Micrographic Surgery

Skin cancer is a disease that affects men and women of all ages. It can occur in a variety of ways. More than 1.2 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed every year are a direct result of exposure to the sun, however one does not necessarily have to sunabthe in order to develop skin cancer. Fortunately, most cases can be cures with early detection and conventional treatment. The technique removes a minimal amount of normal tissue which is especially important in cosmetically sensitive areas as the face.

Mohs Surgery was developed by Frederic Mohs, M.D., during the 1930's. It is primarily used to treat the most commmon forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. This form of treatment is preferred for recurrent and difficult primary carcinomas of the skin. It offers the highest potential for recovery; the cure rate can be up to 99 percent, even if other treatments have failed. No technique can guarantee 100% cure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How long will it take?
A:  Most patients will be finished within a few hours but the process can up to an entire day depending on how long it takes to get clear borders. It is best to plan for a whole day.

Q:  Will there be a scar?
A:  The human body always heals by permanent scar formation. Using the Mohs technique will minimize the size of the scar. The final appearance depends on many factors including the size, depth and location of the cancer. There will be swelling frequently around the site for a month or so and the scar will be red, which will usually fade to white over the next year. The wound may look healed but will not be strong for about 25 days. It is best to refrain from strenuous activity until that time. The cancer frequently involves nerves. Sensation may not return to normal for up to 2 years, but it is usually much sooner. Some wounds may need a later procedure to revise the scar to obtain the best possible result. Wounds overlying muscles may spread with time and cannot always be prevented.

Q:  What should I expect the day of surgery?
A:  Eat breakfast and take your prescribed medications. Bring something to read or work on during the day. Also, bring snacks or even lunch. It is best to plan on the entire day, although most cases are done within a few hours. You may have a bandage that might obscure your vision so bringing a driver is recommended.

Q:  How will my wound be repaired?
A:  The vast majority of defects are repaired here in the office the same day. The sides of the wound are usually brought together and sutured. For larger defects or tight areas, a skin graft or flap may be used. Sometimes we will let the defect "fill in" on its own without any sutures. Occasionally, patients are sent to plastic or oculoplastic surgeons for closure.