MOHS surgery is a specialized surgical technique for treating certain types of skin cancer, primarily those that involve the face, head and neck. The goal of this surgery is to ensure complete removal of skin cancer while preserving as much of the normal surrounding skin as possible.
The MOHS technique involves the removal of the skin cancer, evaluation of the edges of the specimen to insure the all of the cancer is removed, and repair of the wound that is created by the removal process. The surgeon will remove the cancer and examine the removed tissue under the microscope with a pathologist to ensure complete removal of the cancer cells. If any cancer cells are seen to still be present at the edges of the tissue, more tissue will be removed until the “margins are clear”. Once this is confirmed, repair of the wound can begin and may involve suturing the wound, a skin graft from a nearby location, or the transfer of nearby skin (a local flap), depending on the size and location of the wound created by removal of the cancer. The surgeon will discuss the options for repair (and advantages or disadvantages of each) with you at the time of surgery.
MOHS surgery takes place in our office using local anesthesia or “numbing medicine” like a dentist uses. You will be able to go home afterwards and will be given appropriate pain medication and antibiotics as indicated. It is advisable to have someone come with you to drive you home.