Mohs Micrographic Surgery
What is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
Mohs micrographic surgery is a minor surgical
procedure and very specialized way of treating skin cancers using local
anesthesia (numbing). Mohs is a very precise, highly detailed technique
whereby small layers of skin are removed and immediately examined under
a microscope until the samples indicate that the skin cancer is
completely removed. It offers the highest possible cure rates while
removing as little normal skin as possible.
What happens on the day of surgery?
Mohs surgery is an outpatient office procedure and you will be able to return home the same day. You will be placed on the surgical table, and the area around your skin cancer will be numbed with local anesthetic. Once it is numb, the visible cancer and a thin layer of tissue will be removed. This tissue will be carefully handled and taken to our laboratory to be processed. You will have a temporary dressing placed over the surgical wound and will be free to return to the waiting room. The surgical procedure usually takes only 10-15 minutes. However, it takes a minimum of 1-2 hours in the laboratory to process and examine the tissue. You will be asked to wait in the waiting room while the laboratory work is being done. If remaining cancer is found, you will be brought back to the surgical suite and a second thin layer will be taken from that area. This will also be processed while you wait. Although there is no way to tell before surgery how many stages will be needed, most cancers are removed in three stages or less.
We would like to make the time you spend with us as pleasant and comfortable as possible. You may wish to bring reading material with you to occupy your time. A light snack or drink is also advisable as you may be with us for several hours. Since we do not know in advance how much time will be needed to remove the cancer and repair the wound, we ask that you make no other commitments the day of your surgery.
What can I expect after Mohs Surgery?
Recovery is usually very easy and uneventful. Resting as much as possible the first few days after surgery is generally helpful. Most patients are able to return to work and normal activities shortly after having Mohs. Your physician will advise you if there are any activity precautions you take.