Mohs micrographic surgery, an advanced treatment procedure for skin cancer, offers the highest potential for recovery – even if the skin cancer has been previously treated. This procedure is a state-of-the-art treatment in which the physician serves as surgeon, pathologist, and reconstructive surgeon. It uses the accuracy of a microscope to trace and ensure removal of the skin cancer down to its roots. This procedure allows dermatologists, trained in MOHS surgery, to see beyond the visible disease and to precisely identify and remove the entire tumor, leaving healthy tissue unharmed. This procedure is most often used in treating two of the most common forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
The cure rate with MOHS micrographic surgery is the highest of all treatments of skin cancer (up to 99 percent) even if other forms of treatment have failed. This procedure, the most exact and precise method of tumor removal, minimizes the chance of re-growth and lessens the potential for scarring and disfigurement.
The roots of a skin cancer may extend beyond the visible portion of the tumor.
If these roots are not removed, the cancer will recur.
The visible portion of the tumor is surgically removed.
A layer of skin is then removed and divided into sections. The Mohs surgeon then color codes each section with dyes and makes reference marks in the skin to show the source of these sections. A map of the surgical site is then drawn.
The under surface and edges of each section are then microscopically examined for evidence of remaining cancer.
If cancer cells are found under the microscope, the surgeon marks their location on the ‘map’ and then returns to the patient to remove another layer of skin, but only precisely where the cancer cells remain.
The removal process stops when there is no longer any evidence of cancer remaining in the surgical site. Because Mohs surgery removes only tissue containing cancer, it ensures that the healthy tissue is kept intact.
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