Mohs Surgery Clark, Kearny, Jersey City, Teaneck, West New York NJ and Staten Island New York.
Several different procedures can be used to remove cancerous tumors from the skin. One such procedure is Mohs micrographic surgery, which may be used to eliminate tumors that were not able to be effectively removed using other treatments. Click here to see our gallery.
What is Mohs micrographic surgery?
This tissue-sparing surgery is a surgical method that was developed by a physician named Frederic Mohs. The goal of this procedure is to remove all of the "roots" of a skin cancer so that it will not regrow. Of all of the surgical methods used to remove cancerous lesions, Mohs surgery has been the most successful. It can effectively remove basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and has better cure rates than any other procedure.
Unfortunately this revolutionary approach is not practiced by every dermatologist or surgeon. In spite of this procedure's overwhelming success, it is not used as often as it should be because it can be performed only by surgeons who have completed specialized training programs.
When is Mohs surgery recommended?
Mohs surgery is not recommended for every instance of skin cancer, and most cancers can be cured without the use of this surgical procedure. However, if a cancer returns after another treatment or procedure, this approach may be the best option. When a cancer regrows, it is more likely to grow under scar tissue making it more difficult to remove. Mohs allows a surgeon to remove the roots of these deep tumors one layer at a time.
Mohs micrographic surgery may also be used when a cancer is more likely to grow back after a standard treatment. Cancers that are more likely to return often includes those that are extremely aggressive or have infiltrated the cartilage, nerves or blood vessels beneath the skin. Mohs surgery is specifically designed to track and remove the roots of these cancers.
Finally, this technique may be used when a cancer is located on part of the skin, such as the face, that needs to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible. Although any surgery can leave a scar, the skin damage will usually be smaller than those from other forms of skin cancer surgery.
How is Mohs micrographic surgery performed?
In most cases, Mohs surgery will take no longer than four hours to complete. However, complex procedures can take more time. During the procedure, the surgeon begins by numbing the skin with a local anesthetic. He or she will then remove any visible skin cancer, along with some additional tissue around the tumor for detailed analysis.
After the initial removal, the surgeon will draw a Mohs map, which is a diagram of the surgical site. Tissue from the removal is frozen and examined under a microscope in thin slices. If any cancer remains, the locations of the cancer are marked on the map. Using the map, the surgeon returns to the patient to remove any remaining cancer roots. Because tissue is only removed where cancer is present, the precise layering leaves the smallest wound and scar possible. (View Mohs Surgery before & after photos)
Will I need additional surgery?
Although Mohs surgery leaves the smallest wound possible, the wound may still require surgical repair. In such cases, a second surgery may be performed to repair the wound on the same day, or you may have another procedure on a different day. The location and severity of the wound may also cause the doctor to recommend that the repair be performed by another specialist. In rare cases, the cancer may regrow and additional Mohs micrographic surgery may be deemed necessary.