Mohs Surgery

Finding out that you have cancer can be a devastating moment in your life. Recent numbers show that one in every five Americans will probably develop skin cancer at some point in life. Since we don’t hear about skin cancers as much in the news as breast, colon, or lung cancer it may be surprising to learn that almost 80 percent of cancers are on the neck, scalp, or face. When cancer is found in these parts of the body, Mohs surgery is a technique that many doctors like to use if they can. Mohs surgery has improved the removal of cancerous tissue that used to be done only by excision. 

Mohs surgery is done to remove as much of the skin cancer as possible while doing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. It is a precise surgical technique that progressively removes layers of cancerous skin until only healthy tissue remains. Repeated procedures are done, typically as outpatient procedures, by using a local anesthetic. 

Mohs surgery is especially preferred by doctors when patients have cancer in areas where they want to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. As opposed to breast cancer where a mastectomy can be performed, when cancer is on the face or hairline, there is not an option to remove a large area of surrounding tissue. Mohs surgery is precise enough to target specific cancer tissue. Dermatologists are trained to perform Mohs, but many patients choose to trust a plastic surgeon who will partner with a cancer specialist. A plastic surgeon who specializes in Mohs surgery understands how the incisions can best be reconstructed for minimal scarring. 

If you are faced with having to undergo Mohs surgery, talk to your trusted plastic surgeon about using meticulous care during surgery.

Posted on behalf of Benjamin Stong, MD, Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery, LLC 


Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer

Over 2 million new cases of skin cancer are reported in the United States each year.  Most skin cancers are classified as non-melanomas  and affect the basal or squamous cells. Melanoma skin cancers start in the melanocytes and are much more dangerous than non-melanomas. 

Both types of skin cancers have a high rate of cure if they are detected and treated early enough.  Mohs surgery is one of the most effective treatments for basal and squamaous cell skin cancers. Studies have shown that Mohs surgery has a cure rate of over 99% for initial cancers and 95% for recurrent cancers.  Mohs surgery can also be used to treat melanomas in certain situations.

One of the most important considerations in treating skin cancer is the removal of the entire tumor which is usually not completely visible to the naked eye.  When the tumor is on the face or other exposed area of the body, the goal is to remove all of the tumor while minimizing the removal of healthy tissue to minimize unsightly scarring. 

Mohs surgery is a microscopic surgery that removes all of the cancerous tissue while ensuring the maximum amount of healthy tissue is retained.  The surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.

For skin cancers on the face, the best aesthetic outcomes are often achieved by using a Mohs surgical team that includes a Mohs surgeon and a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in Mohs surgery.  The Mohs surgeon will remove the tumor and the facial plastic surgeon will close the wound which results in the highest possible cure rate and minimal visible scarring.