Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery, also known as micrographic surgery, is the treatment of choice for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers at Midwest Dermatology.

Our dermatologists use it because it:

  • Has the highest cure rate compared to other treatments; upwards of 95 percent!
  • Removes the most cancer AND preserves healthy skin because surgeons remove thin layers of cancerous tissue, one layer at a time.
  • Removes the root of the cancer.
  • Leaves the smallest scar possible.
  • Has a shorter recovery time and involves fewer complications.
    Cost much less than other treatments because of the reduction in recurrence.

How it Works

Instead of estimating how far out the skin cancer has spread, or how deep its roots go, our dermatologists examine each layer of tissue under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present. When the tissue sample shows no cancer cells are present, the wound is closed with stitches or is bandaged up so it can heal naturally.

Because it can help prevent disfigurement, Mohs is also a preferred treatment for skin cancers that do not have clear edges, or skin cancers on the face. Mohs is not used to treat melanoma because that disease requires a different type of pathology study to trace its roots.

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Step by Step

Skin Cancers often have roots that extend beyond the visible tumor.

Step 1:

Your Midwest Dermatology physician shaves the visible tumor – what is seen on the surface – and sends it to pathology for a test known as a “biopsy”.

Step 2:

If the biopsy finds skin cancer, you will be notified of the results. If there are roots under the cancerous growth, Mohs surgery may be the next step and you will be contacted to set it up.

Step 3:

During Mohs surgery, your Midwest Dermatology Mohs surgeon excises, or cuts out, a section of skin slightly wider and deeper than determined by the biopsy.

Step 4:

Your Mohs surgeon then prepares the tissue for the lab, being sure to mark the edges so that they can be examined for the presence – or not – of skin cancer.

Step 5:

After the lab processes the tissue, the Mohs surgeon microscopically examines the entire undersurface and edges of the tissue sample.

Step 6:

If microscopic examination shows skin cancer cells remain, your Mohs surgeon will excise a wider or deeper section of skin and the process will be repeated. Multiple levels may be required to remove the cancer roots completely.

The process stops when the edges are clear and there is no evidence of residual cancer. Your Mohs surgeon will use advanced reconstructive technique to repair the surgery site. During surgery, the area treated will be numbed to assure your full comfort throughout.