Mohs Micrographic Surgery
The Department of Dermatology offers a full range of dermatologic surgery, including the specialized Mohs micrographic Surgery, the most advanced procedure available to treat skin cancer.
Mohs micrographic surgery is performed by specially trained surgeons. Tumors are removed layer by layer with a precise method leaving healthy tissue unharmed. The procedure minimizes the chance of re-growth and lessens scarring which is most desirable for cancers on the face and other sensitive areas.
Less Invasive, Less Scarring
There are two ways to treat a non-melanoma skin cancer: cut it out along with a margin of normal skin, usually about 1/2 centimeter, or perform Mohs micrographic surgery.
Mohs is particularly useful for large and recurrent tumors and when a lesion is on the patient's face, where the surgeon wants to leave as much skin as possible to decrease scarring.
Once Mohs is complete, any needed reconstruction of the area is done the same day. But about two-thirds of procedures are closed without a flap or graft.
Using a microscope to look at your skin offers the surgeon a 100 percent view of the margin of the lesion. If the margin shows cancer extending beyond what was cut out, the surgeon will go back to the patient and remove more skin only where the cancer was seen microscopically. This is instead of sending the sample out for a traditional biopsy, which might mean a patient has to come back another day for a second procedure.
After a Mohs surgeon removes the lesion, an on-site lab tech processes it immediately for examination under the microscope. The processing and reading time usually takes about 45 minutes and is done while the patient waits.