Mohs Surgery | Skin Cancer Surgery

Mohs surgery is effective for treating and curing the two most common skin cancers -- basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Mohs surgery removes cancerous skin tissue while leaving the surrounding tissue that is healthy.

What is Mohs surgery?

With Mohs surgery, skin tumors or lesions are removed in layers. The layers are looked at through a microscope to determine if they are cancerous. The process is repeated until no cancer cells are found. With Mohs surgery, the cure rates are high for people with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Mohs surgeries also are being done more often for certain types of melanoma. A special stain is used to make the melanoma cells easier to see under a microscope.

Mohs surgery risks

Mohs surgery has rare risks. These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding

Speak with your doctor to see if Mohs surgery is the right option for you.

Skin cancer surgery process

The surgeon will numb the patient’s skin and begin removing layers of skin and looking at the layers under a microscope. The surgeon cuts smaller layers while cutting deeper into the skin to avoid removing healthy tissue. The procedure is complete once no cancer cells are found in a layer.

The rounds of surgery take approximately one hour between removal of the layer and examining the cancer cells in the layer. Many patients complete the surgery with two to three rounds.

Skin cancer surgery recovery

Doctors may use a skin graft to cover the surgery site. This is done by removing healthy skin that easily grows back and putting it on the wound. Recovery time depends on how big the procedure is and if skin grafts are used. Small surgery sites will normally heal without help while others may need stitches.