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Mohs Micrographic Surgery for Skin Cancer


Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer is a very precise, tissue-sparing technique to remove skin cancer. It is most commonly performed on basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma in cosmetically sensitive areas and areas requiring tissue sparing, such as skin cancers of the head and neck, hands/feet, and genitalia.

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Mohs surgery involves removing the tissue in layers or stages. After each stage, the tissue is processed and examined microscopically. The wound is mapped and diagrammed, and if necessary, small amounts of additional tissue are removed with each additional stage. This process continues until the last traces of skin cancer are removed.

Mohs surgery allows your doctor at Northeast Dermatology to very effectively trace out any roots or extensions of the skin cancer. The Mohs technique allows your surgeon to remove the skin cancer completely while sparing as much of the surrounding healthy skin and structures as possible. This minimizes the size of the defect which usually will result in a smaller, less noticeable scar.

Five year cure rate for skin cancers treated by Mohs surgery have been reported to be 99% for the initial treatment of tumors and 95% for recurrent tumors. In addition to the highest cure rate, Mohs surgery offers other advantages to patients:

  • Compared to traditional excision, Mohs surgery usually causes less scarring.

  • It does not require the use of general anesthesia and is performed in an outpatient office suite.  The need for hospitalization is eliminated.

  • Because of its safety, it is ideal for elderly patients who may not be able to have other forms of surgery.

  • Because it involves the microscopic examination of tissue with each stage to trace the edges of the skin cancer, Mohs surgery more accurately removes cancerous tissue and decreases the chance of recurrence.

Mohs surgery was named in honor of Dr. Frederic Mohs, the developer of this procedure in the 1930’s. Dermatologists are uniquely positioned to provide this advanced technique due to their extensive training in surgery, pathology, and reconstructive surgery. This provides the patient with the greatest chance for the best cosmetic outcome and the highest quality of treatment for their skin cancer.

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