Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a safe and effective technique for treating skin cancers that effectively removes the tumor while maximally sparing the surrounding tissue. It is the only technique that allows the surgeon to check the margins of the excised skin under a microscope while the patient awaits and allows the surgeon to take out only the piece of skin that contains the tumor, while sparing normal surrounding skin.
Described and invented by Frederic E. Mohs, M.D., in the 1930s, Mohs Surgery excises not only the visible tumor but also any "roots" that may have extended beneath the surface of the skin. Five-year cure rates have been demonstrated up to 99 percent for primary cancers and 95 percent for recurrent cancers.
This procedure is most commonly used for the treatment of:
- Basal Cell skin Cancers
- Squamous Cell skin cancers
- Melanoma in situ
- Invasive Melanoma
- Sebaceous Carcinomas
- Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans
- Atypical Fibroxanthomas
- Eccrine Carcinoma
- Microcystic Adenexal Carcinoma
- Other rare adenexal tumors
Mohs surgery is often recommended for recurrent cancers because of its high cure rates. It is also ideal for treating cancer in cosmetically and functionally prominent areas such as the nose, eyelids, lips, hairline, hands, feet and genitals. You can read more about the surgery in Dr Khan’s Mohs Brochure.
Mohs Surgery Procedure
Mohs surgery is performed on an outpatient basis in Dr Misbah Khan’s office. Dr Khan is board certified dermatologist who is also a graduate of American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS). Dr Khan has performed over a thousand Mohs surgeries and is thoroughly trained in reconstructive surgeries as well.
During the Mohs surgery procedure, the affected area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Small layers of skin are removed and the excised area is closely examined to see if the cancer has been thoroughly eradicated. This process significantly reduces damage to surrounding tissue while effectively removing all traces of cancer.
Most Mohs procedures can be performed in three or four stages, which usually takes less than four hours to perform. Some cases may take longer, as there is no way of predicting the extent of cancer growth before treatment begins. Patients should arrange for someone to take them home following surgery.
Recovery and Results from Mohs Surgery
After Mohs surgery, patients may experience mild discomfort, bruising and swelling around the treated area. Prescription pain medication is available for patients if needed, although most only require Tylenol for pain relief.
There will be scarring after Mohs surgery once the area is healed, although the scars from this procedure are often smaller than those from other excision procedures. For patients concerned with the appearance of their skin after treatment, reconstructive procedures are available to reduce or even eliminate the appearance of the scar using skin flaps, skin grafts, collagen injections and more. These procedures may be performed at the same time as Mohs surgery or at a later date. Dr Khan may also utilize certain techniques to reduce visual scarring, including placing stitching in the skin's natural crevices or out-of-sight areas.
Compared to other skin cancer treatments, Mohs Surgery has a very high success rate. Basal cell carcinomas have a 97-99 percent cure rate, while squamous cell carcinomas are cured 94 percent of the time.
Risks of Mohs Surgery
Although Mohs surgery is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks involved with any type of surgical procedure. Some of these risks may include numbness, muscle weakness, tenderness, itching, pain and failure of skin grafts. These risks are considered rare and, if they do occur, are usually mild and temporary. Patients can reduce the risk of complications by choosing an experienced Mohs surgeon to perform their treatment, and by following the surgeon's instructions after the procedure.
To learn more about the benefits of Mohs surgery, please call Dr Misbah Khan’s office today to schedule a consultation and find out if this procedure is right for you.