What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is a specialized surgical procedure used to treat most skin cancers. Thin skin layers containing cancer cells are removed layer by layer until only cancer-free tissue remains. The objective is to remove as all the cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. Each layer is examined under a microscope to verify that the cancer cells have been removed.
Who performs Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery is performed by fellowship-trained dermatologists like those at Advantage Dermatology. The fellowship-trained surgeon acts as a surgeon and a pathologist. This requires specialized training. Mohs surgeons are also trained in post-Mohs reconstruction.
What are the advantages?
- Mohs surgery is advantageous for areas where it is important to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, around the eyes, ears, nose, mouth hairline, hands, feet and genitals
- It is beneficial for skin cancers that have a high risk of recurrence or where the cancer has recurred
- It leaves a small wound
- It reduces the amount of skin tissue removed so it reduces scarring
- It is the most effective treatment for the most common skin cancers
- It is outpatient surgery
- Only local anesthetic is used
- There are low rates of recurrence
- It is cost-efficient for difficult to treat non-melanoma cancers
What are the potential risks?
They are the same as with general excision surgery, but Mohs patients are at less risk for these potential risks.
- Bleeding from the surgical site
- Poor wound healing
- The cancer can return
What is the cure rate?
Studies report the cure rate at 99% for new cancers and 95% for recurrent cancers. It is most effective for Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Cancers, the most common types of skin cancers.
Mohs surgery is NOT used for Melanoma.
What are the alternatives to Mohs Surgery?
- Without Mohs, the doctor will take a biopsy and send it to a lab. In a few days, you will then learn whether you have skin cancer
- IF there is cancer, you must go back to the doctor to have more tissue removed
- Because of this, a good cancer surgeon will take larger areas around the borders of the suspected cancer, causing a much larger wound and a larger scar
- Skin cancer excision has greater risks for poor wound healing, bleeding, etc.
Will insurance pay for it?
Most insurance companies will pay. Medicare will pay for Mohs Surgery.
Who is a good candidate?
- Patients with biopsy-proven skin cancer
- Patients whose cancer is located on the head or neck
- Patients with recurrent cancer at any site
Is it painful?
You may feel some discomfort that can be easily managed with minimal or no medication. Most people go back to work or school the next day.
Will I have a scar?
Yes, any time you cut the skin you can develop a scar. The size of the scar will depend on the size of the wound. Generally, the scars are minimal and cosmetically pleasing because the Mohs Surgeon has been trained in reconstructive surgery.
When you need a Mohs Surgeon, think of Advantage Dermatology in Jacksonville, Florida.
They take pride in their work and are devoted to the best care available for each patient.