Mohs surgery treats skin cancer. The surgeon removes cells by layer, examining each layer for cancer cells. This preserves more healthy tissue than standard surgery that removes the cancer all at once. For this reason, Mohs surgery is often used in areas — like the nose and ears — where you need to conserve as much skin as possible.
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 treatment or surgery.
Advantages of Mohs surgery
- It has the highest cure rate of any procedure to treat skin cancer.
- It results in smaller scars because it preserves the maximum amount of healthy skin.
- It includes reconstructing the area with aesthetics in mind.
- It minimizes risk of the cancer recurring because the surgeon verifies during the procedure that all cancer cells have been removed.
- It is an outpatient surgery, often completed in a single visit.
When Mohs surgery is preferable to traditional surgery
- If your cancer occurs in an area, such as on the hands, neck, lips or eyelids, where it is important to preserve more healthy tissue for functional or cosmetic reasons.
- If your cancer has been previously treated and has recurred.
- If your cancer is growing rapidly.
- If your cancer is large.
- If your cancer has indistinct borders.
- If your cancer has formed in an area of extensive scar tissue.
After Mohs surgery, there may be a hole or defect where the cancer was removed. In that case, you may need reconstructive surgery. Which procedure you have will depend on the size, shape and location of the wound. Some reconstructions can be done the same day, while others have to be done in stages.
Why choose Rush for Mohs surgery
- Dermatologists at Rush have special training and experience in performing Mohs surgery.
- If you have melanoma, Rush offers a melanoma surveillance clinic. This clinic offers regular monitoring to find melanoma early before it spreads to other areas of the body.
- Rush has dedicated, experienced head and neck plastic surgeons available to perform reconstruction after Mohs surgery, if needed.