Mohs micrographic surgery is a precise technique used to remove skin cancers with the highest cure rate. This method allows for minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Thin layers of the skin are examined under the microscope. Once the skin is free of cancer cells, the wound is typically closed with sutures. This surgical method offers a 97-99% cure rate for most tumors.
The two most common types of skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma) are usually treated with Mohs surgery if they are on the face, if they are large in size on other parts of the body, or if they have recurred after another type of treatment.
Mohs surgery is performed in an outpatient setting. It is performed with local anesthesia. In stage one, the area is numbed and the skin cancer is removed. At this point, the tissue is cut into sections and put onto microscopic slides to be examined for clearance. If there is still skin cancer present after stage one, another stage is taken by removing another layer of tissue until it is completely removed. Although most people are in the office for a few hours, patients may sometimes have to stay all day, depending on how many stages are required to clear the tumor.
Most patients require sutures to close the wound after the skin cancer has been completely removed. Sometimes skin must be taken from a nearby site to close the defect (such as a skin flap or graft). After the last sutures are placed, the Mohs nurses bandage the area, and patients can return home. The bandage stays on until the next morning, and then the area is to be cleaned with soap and water. A healing ointment is to be applied to the wound. The sutures are left intact for the next week or two.
Long term monitoring of the surgical site and other areas is necessary, as people with a history of skin cancer are at high risk of developing another skin cancer.
Warning: The following photo gallery contains graphic surgical images depicting wound healing.
Chicago Office, (312) 263-4625
Bourbonnais Office, (815) 933-2227