This is a specialized method for removing skin cancers and is named after Dr. Frederick Mohs who developed the technique.
The main difference between this surgery and other methods of removing skin cancer is microscopic control.
In Mohs surgery, multiple thin, horizontal layers of the cancer are removed, mapped and evaluated under the microscope so that any residual can be pinpointed and removed while you are in the office. This leads to higher cure rates and smaller sized defects. Cure rates for skin cancers that have not been previously treated approach 99%.
Smaller defects lead to better chances for an optimal cosmetic result. Not all skin cancers require this type of surgery. Dr. McGillis will evaluate and make treatment recommendations.
This process does require additional training. Dr. McGillis completed a two year fellowship in this technique. It is important to be sure that your surgeon is appropriately trained in this skin cancer removal method. More information can be obtained by clicking here: www.mohscollege.org
Occasionally, skin cancers are treated with topical creams, cryotherapy (freezing), CO2 laser, electrodesiccation and curettage (burning and scraping), or simple excision. Mohs Micrographic Surgery is reserved for skin cancers that are:
located on cosmetically or functionally critical areas (especially on the face)
recurrent after failing previous treatment(s)
clinically ill-defined or infiltrating
aggressive, large, or rapidly growing
Occuring in old scars
Mohs surgery was developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs. During this procedure, the visible skin cancer is removed and processed in the Mohs laboratory, examining all of the edges of the specimen under a microscope. If any skin cancer remains, the area of remaining cancer is re-excised and, again, examined under a microscope. This process is repeated until the entire skin cancer, including any “roots”, is completely removed.
Once the cancer has been proven to be completely removed, most wounds are then repaired and sutured, sometimes a temporary stretching suture will be placed for a day or two before closing the wound.
The Mohs technique offers several advantages over other treatments:
provides the highest cure rate of any treatments for skin cancer-up to 99 percent
minimizes the removal of normal skin tissue allowing for potentially smaller scars
performed under local anesthesia as an office-based, outpatient procedure
When selecting a Mohs surgeon, it is important to select one who is fellowship trained in an ACGME or ACMS approved program. Dr. McGillis not only Board Certified in Dermatology but are also Fellowship Trained in Skin Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery