Mohs Micrographic Surgery is an advanced technique for skin cancer removal. This is a very precise and effective treatment which excises the visible tumor as well as any “roots” that may extend beneath the skin surface. In fact, Mohs is so effective that there have been demonstrated five-year cure rates of up to 99% for first-treatment cancers and up to 95% for recurring cancers.
Mohs surgery is unlike other skin cancer removal procedure in that the surgery itself involves the systematic removal and immediate microscopic analysis of thin layers of tissue at the tumor site. This removal and analysis is continued until all traces of cancer have been eliminated. In this way, only cancerous tissue is removed and as much healthy tissue as possible is spared. Mohs surgery is most often used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas, however it may also be indicated for the treatment of melanoma and other cancers. Due to the very thorough nature of the surgery, this is one of the best treatments for cancers with a high recurrence rate or those which have already recurred. In addition, because it is a very precise surgery, it is good for treating cosmetically and functionally sensitive areas like the face, hands, feet and genitals.
While Mohs Surgery does enjoy a very high success rate for eradicating skin cancers, it can leave behind significant defects. In many cases, plastic surgeons are called upon to repair the defects left behind following Mohs excision. This is particularly true in very visible areas like the face. The repair of Mohs defects is a very individualized treatment as there are many different techniques which may be used, including the use of skin flaps or grafts.