Mohs micrographic surgery, sometimes referred to simply as Mohs surgery, is a specialized skin cancer treatment. The procedure involves removing thin layers of skin one at a time and examining them during the procedure until they no longer contain cancerous cells.
What Is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
Mohs skin cancer surgery is performed on an outpatient basis under a local anesthetic. The goal is to remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible while preserving and minimizing damage to nearby healthy tissue.
Mohs surgery represents a significant advancement over traditional surgical excision. Traditional skin cancer surgery involves removing any visibly cancerous tissue along with a margin of healthy tissue. The excised tissue is then sent off for analysis to determine if the margins are free of cancer cells. If not, the patient may have to undergo additional surgery. The Mohs procedure allows the doctor to verify at the time of the procedure that all of the cancerous tissue has been removed, which increases the likelihood of a cure and reduces the chances that additional surgery will be needed.
Mohs micrographic surgery is appropriate for many common forms of skin cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and certain melanomas. The procedure can even be used on some rare forms of skin cancer. Mohs skin cancer treatment is especially effective in treating cancers that have hard to define borders, that have a high risk of recurrence, that are large or particularly aggressive, or that are located in areas where it is important to minimize the loss of healthy tissue such as the face or visible areas.
Risks Associated with Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery:
Every surgical procedure, including Mohs, poses risks, including:
- infection, and
- post-surgical pain and tenderness.
In rare cases, patients may experience complications, including:
- temporary or permanent numbness or weakness of the surgical area,
- pain or itching in the affected area, and
- keloid scarring.
Choosing a Mohs Surgeon:
Mohs surgery is a delicate and highly technical procedure. While many dermatologists offer the surgery, it is important to choose a specialized dermatologist like Dr. Hal Weitzbuch, who has undergone additional training to become proficient in the technique. Selecting an experienced Calabasas dermatologist with fellowship training in the Mohs procedure can reduce the risk of complications and improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, contact Calabasas Dermatology Center today to determine if Mohs micrographic surgery is right for you.