Mohs is a very precise type of microscopic surgery developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs in the 1930s. It is often used to treat basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, as well as squamous cell carcinoma, often on the head and neck area, but sometimes on feet, ankles and genitals. With technological advances, Mohs is increasingly being used to treat melanoma.
What's involved in Mohs surgery
The procedure involves examining tissue under a microscope as the tissue is being removed during surgery. A specially trained dermatologist removes the diseased tissue and looks to see if the cells are cancerous. If they are cancerous, the dermatologist removes a little bit more of the diseased area, then examines again. This process is repeated until there is no cancerous tissue left on the body. This kind of precision produces a better result for the patient and also minimizes tissue scarring (by not removing more than is necessary).
The procedure is done with local anesthesia (numbing of the area) and sometimes takes up to several hours. Because it is so effective at removing cancer cells, Mohs has a very high cure rate, meaning most of the time the cancer does not come back or spread.