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Mohs surgery is considered the most effective technique for treating the most common types of skin cancer. Sometimes called Mohs micrographic surgery, the procedure is done in stages. This allows the removal of all cancerous cells for the highest cure rate while sparing healthy tissue and leaving the smallest possible scar. You will have a reconstructive team which often includes a dermatologist and our plastic surgeons to help guide you through the process.
Our surgeons will put together a plan to select the best reconstructive technique to repair your skin cancer defect.
The method chosen to repair the defect will depend on several factors, including the amount of tissue that needs to be removed and the condition of the skin and its underlying tissues.
The removal of a skin cancer is a traumatic experience and it's normal to be worried about how your face will appear after the healing process is over. Our surgeons will use their experience in plastic and reconstructive surgery to help give you the best outcome and most natural looking result possible.
This majority of these procedures are performed at our Wellspring Plastic Surgery practice under local anesthesia.
How It Works
After a thorough evaluation, choose a treatment plan with our surgeons.
Learn all about pre-operative safety preparations before your surgery.
Follow your surgeon's instruction to ensure a smooth recovery.
Before & After
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Frequently Asked Questions
The term “Mohs” refers to Dr. Frederic Mohs, Professor of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin, who developed this surgical technique in the 1930s. The technique has undergone many refinements and has come to be known as “Mohs micrographic surgery” or simply “Mohs surgery” in honor of Dr. Mohs.
Mohs surgery is a highly specialized and precise treatment for skin cancer in which the cancer is removed in stages, one tissue layer at a time. It is an outpatient procedure, performed under local anesthesia, and is distinguished by a specific technique of tissue examination that is unique to Mohs surgery. Although other surgical specialists may check excision margins, this form of pathologic examination of the tissue is not the same as Mohs surgery.
Once a tissue layer is removed, its edges are marked with colored dyes, and a map of the specimen is created. The tissue is then processed onto microscope slides by a Mohs histotechnician. These slides are carefully examined under the microscope by the Mohs surgeon so that any microscopic roots of the cancer can be precisely identified and mapped. If cancer cells are seen, an additional tissue layer is removed only in areas where the cancer is still present, leaving normal skin intact. This saves as much normal, healthy skin as possible.
Once the cancer has been removed, the Mohs surgeon will explain options for repair of the wound, including natural healing (granulation), stitching the wound together using a side-to-side closure, or using a skin flap or graft.
Although Mohs surgery can take longer than other techniques to perform, advances in technology, such as automated staining of tissue samples, have made it quicker. While it is impossible to predict exactly what timeframe to expect for each Mohs surgery procedure, the entire procedure usually lasts several hours. Rarely, clearing the tumor and reconstructing the defect can take the better part of a day. A consultation with the Mohs surgeon prior to your procedure will allow for the surgeon to understand the unique qualities of your situation and enable him/her to more clearly estimate the extent of the timeframe for the surgery.
Yes. As will any treatment for skin cancer, Mohs surgery will leave a scar.
Mohs surgery preserves as much healthy skin as possible and maximizes options for repairing the surgical defect, once the tumor is completely removed. Once the Mohs surgeon has completely removed your skin cancer through Mohs surgery, reconstruction for optimizing the final functional and cosmetic result becomes the highest priority. Generally, a post-surgical scar improves with time and can take up to 1 year or more to fully mature. As your surgical site heals, new blood vessels can appear and support the healing changes occurring underneath the skin. This can result in the reddish appearance of the scar. This change is temporary and will improve with time.
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