Overview

Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, thin layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery.

The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove as much of the skin cancer as possible, while doing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Mohs surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic.

Mohs surgery is an improvement to standard surgery (local excision), which involves removing the visible cancer and a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue all at once. Mohs surgery allows surgeons to verify that all cancer cells have been removed at the time of surgery. This increases the chance of a cure and reduces the need for additional treatments or additional surgery.

Mayo Clinic's approach

Sept. 06, 2017
References
  1. Robinson JK, et al., eds. Mohs micrographic surgery and cutaneous oncology. In: Surgery of the Skin: Procedural Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  2. AskMayoExpert. Mohs micrographic surgery. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  3. Nehal K, et al. Mohs surgery. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  4. Mohs micrographic surgery in the treatment of skin cancer. American Society for Mohs Surgery. http://www.mohssurgery.org/patient-resources/patient-brochure/. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  5. Squamous cell skin cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  6. Basal cell skin cancer. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed July 28, 2017.
  7. Warner KJ. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 17, 2017.
  8. Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 21, 2017.