Mohs Micrographic Surgery

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Surgery is also called Mohs Micrographic Surgery. It is a surgical technique that slowly eliminates a tumour in layers until there is no cancer. The aim is to get rid of the tumour and retain as much healthy tissue as possible.

Mohs Surgery proves to be the most effective and least invasive Skin Cancer removal procedure, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. This is widely used in some cases of melanoma, too. Melanoma is the most deadly form of Skin Cancer.

What types of cancers are treated with Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Surgery can be used to treat various forms of skin cancers, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, some forms of melanoma, and other unusual Skin Cancer types. It used for the treatment of:

  • Tumours in areas where it is vital to remove as little tissue as possible (such as the eyelids, ears, nose, lips, genitals, fingers or toes)
  • Tumours that are larger ones (to leave a smaller scar)
  • Tumours that have recurred or are at high risk of returning
  • Tumours that are growing fast
  • Tumours with poorly defined edges or margins

How is Mohs Surgery done?

Mohs Surgery is normally performed at a doctor’s office or hospital as an outpatient treatment. Local anaesthetics are used for numbing the area. The surgeon uses a scalpel to cut the tumour section that can be seen along with a thin tissue layer underneath. A temporary bandage is placed on the wound. The tissue sample is taken to the laboratory for examination under a microscope to find out whether the tissue still contains cancer cells. If cancer is present in the layer, a further thin layer of tissue is removed and examined. Each round takes an hour to complete. The Surgery takes 20 to 30 minutes, and it requires another 30 minutes to examine the tissue under the microscope.

These steps are repeated until the last extracted tissue sample reveals no cancer cells and healthy tissue is present in the surrounding margin. After all the cancer is removed the wound is repaired.

What are the side effects of Mohs Surgery?

Side effects may occur any time after Mohs surgery, immediately after, or a few days or weeks later. Side effects could include:

  • Pain, tenderness and a burning feeling
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding and bruising
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage, for example, numbness