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What is MOHS?

The History of Mohs Surgery

Mohs Surgery is the most effective, precise and tissue-sparing technique for treating most types of skin cancers. It is named for Frederic Mohs, MD, who pioneered this form of cancer treatment over 60 years ago. Over the years, it has been modified and refined to become the highly effective procedure it is today.

What are the Advantages of Mohs Surgery?

Mohs surgery has many advantages. Mohs is a one-day outpatient surgery and is the most cost effective treatment of skin cancer. It has the highest cure rate for non-melanoma skin cancer with a five-year cure rate approaching 99 percent for new cancers, and 95 percent for recurrent cancers. Mohs also provides the greatest preservation of normal tissue, thereby minimizing scarring and preserving function. Immediate tissue processing and examination occurs so there is no need to wait a week or more for pathology results. By using detailed mapping techniques and complete microscopic control, the Mohs surgeon can pinpoint areas involved with cancer that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, even the smallest microscopic roots of cancer can be removed.

Why Does My Cancer Need Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Micrographic Surgery is primarily used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas, but can be used to treat less common tumors including early stage melanomas.

Mohs Surgery is appropriate when:

  • the cancer is in an area where it is important to preserve healthy tissue for maximum functional and cosmetic result, such as eyelids, nose, ears, lips, fingers, toes, genitals;
  • the cancer was treated previously and recurred;
  • scar tissue exists in the area of the cancer;
  • the cancer is large;
  • the edges of the cancer cannot be clearly defined;
  • the cancer is growing rapidly or uncontrollably