Published: Sept. 20, 2010
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
Microscopically controlled surgery was developed by Dr. F. Mohs in the 1940s as a precise method of treating certain cancers. The technique has been extensively refined in subsequent years, and its popularity has increased dramatically during the last decade.
The Mohs technique combines surgical removal of the skin cancer with immediate microscopic examination of the removed tissue in order to identify any residual cancerous tissue.
The main goal of Mohs surgery is to remove your skin cancer as completely as possible and to prevent cancer recurrence. Although the cure rate is not 100 percent, Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate of any procedure available in the treatment of skin cancer. The overwhelming majority of patients never require further treatment.
There are several situations in which Mohs surgery is appropriate:
Mohs surgery not only has a higher cure rate than any other treatment method, but also creates the smallest possible surgical wound, resulting in the best final cosmetic result.
Unlike other methods of treatment, Mohs surgery does not rely on surface inspection to judge the extent of the skin cancer. What one sees on the surface may only be “the tip of the iceberg.”
If the tumor is not well defined, if it blends into the normal skin, or if it is mixed with scar tissue from a previous operation, a surgeon using conventional treatment techniques might either remove too little tissue and leave tumor behind, causing tumor recurrence, or overcompensate and remove too much tissue, producing unacceptable scarring.
Mohs surgery, using microscopic control, allows the surgeon to trace out the extent of the tumor and remove only diseased tissue.
Read more about Mohs surgery: