Commonly Asked Questions
What is Mohs Surgery?
- Developed by Frederick Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs Micrographic Surgery has been used as the single most effective technique for removing Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), the two most common skin cancers. It accomplishes sparing the greatest amount of healthy tissue while also completely expunging cancer cells. Cure rates fro BCCs and SCCs are an unparalleled 98% higher with Mohs, significantly better than the rates for standard excision or any other accepted method.
What Should I Expect?
- The morning of the procedure, we ask the patient to have a nice, big, healthy breakfast and take all of your medications as normal.
- When you arrive at our office, we will again review the procedure and the stops. After verifying and cleaning the area, we use a tiny syringe to inject local anesthesia. This is exactly the same process that was used for the original biopsy. You will be awake and comfortable through the whole procedure.
- We then identify the border of the skin cancer and take a very small rim of normal-appearing skin.
- The wound is covered and you will be free to enjoy our complimentary refreshments, use the restroom, or read while our in-house technician processes the tissue into slides. This process takes about 30 - 40 minutes.
- We then review the slides. If you think of the skin cancer as a pie, we look at the entire crust of the pie. This ensures a 99.9% clearance rate and saves as much of your healthy skin as possible.
- If there is an area that is still positive for cancer cells, we go back and take a little more, just in the positive area. Then, this new piece is processed by the technician and reviewed.
- If the margins are clear, we sew up the wound and make it as beautiful as possible.
- You will be given aftercare instructions and you will be able to drive yourself home.
- Some patients take a little Tylenol that first night, but the majority of the patients require no pain medication.
Will All My Surgeries Be Done at the Same Time?
- Unfortunately, due to insurance coverage and the amount of time it may take, we will only perform one surgery at a time.
Will I Be Awake or Not? Do I Need Someone to Take Me and Bring Me Home?
- You will be administered only local anesthetic to numb the area, therefore, you will be awake during the surgery. Reaction varies from patient to patient. Most patients are good to drive home themselves, but if you prefer to have someone take you and bring you home, that is always a good option.
How Long Will the Surgery Take?
- Since the tissues are being removed layer by layer to minimize the loss of unnecessary skin tissues, it all depends on how deep or widespread the tissue is affected. For every layer removed, it will be processed and the doctor will examine it under a microscope to make sure all cancerous margins are completely removed. The surgery may take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 - 3 hours. The average time is about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Where Can I Get More Information on the Mohs Surgery?
- We would like to refer you to the Mohs website. They have informational brochures and videos.
Do I Need to Call to Make My Appointment or Can I Do It By Email?
- The provider does Mohs surgeries every Tuesday morning starting at 9:00 AM. Give us a couple of date options and we can make the appointment and email the information to you.