What is Mohs Surgery?
Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment for the most common non-melanoma skin cancer such as basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumour is reached (called clear margins).
Each Forefront Dermatology Mohs surgeon is specially trained as a cancer surgeon, pathologist, and reconstructive surgeon and this results in Mohs surgery having the highest success rate of all skin cancer treatments – up to 99 percent.
Because of Mohs surgery high success rate, most patients require only a single surgery.
The History of Mohs Surgery
Mohs micrographic surgery was invented in the 1930s by Dr. Frederic Mohs at the University of Wisconsin, but it didn’t develop into a mainstream treatment until practitioners such as NYU dermatologist and Skin Cancer Foundation founder Perry Robins, MD, refined the technique and spread the practice in the 70s and 80s.
The most obvious difference between Mohs surgery and routine excisional surgery is that Mohs is done in stages, with lab testing done on site.
What can Mohs Surgery treat?
Generally, patients who have been diagnosed with basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are candidates for Mohs surgery around the head and neck area. Melanoma patients may also be candidates for Mohs surgery, depending upon the outcome of a consultation with your dermatologist.
Who Should Have Mohs Surgery?
Because of its high success rate, Mohs surgery is recommended for high-risk nonmelanoma skin cancers. Skin cancers on the nose, eyelids, lips, ears, hands, feet and genitals are all considered high-risk. Those on other areas of the face, scalp, neck and shins are considered intermediate risk.
Other skin cancers also best treated with Mohs surgery include:
- large cancers in normally low-risk areas.
- skin cancers with difficult-to-see borders.
- skin cancers certain microscopic growth patterns.
- skin cancers with that have recurred after initial treatment.
- skin cancers with that were not completely removed via other procedures.
Mohs surgery is an optimal treatment for nonmelanoma skin cancers that grow in scar tissue or areas of prolonged inflammation, as well as skin that had previously been treated with radiation therapy.
What results can be expected from Mohs Surgery?
According to statistics reported by the American College of Mohs Surgery, “Mohs micrographic surgery has the highest cure rate of all treatments for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers” with a cure rate exceeding “…99 percent for new skin cancers and 95 percent for recurrent skin cancers.”
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