Vanderbilt Dermatology

MOHS Micrographic Surgery

MOHS Micrographic Surgery allows the selective removal of areas of skin affected by skin cancer while protecting as much normal tissue as possible. This method of surgery is named after the physician, Frederic E. Mohs, MD, who developed this surgical technique. Even though this technique is time consuming, the accuracy and chance for the complete removal of skin cancer is very good. As a result, MOHS micrographic surgery is very useful for large or aggressive tumors, those with indistinct borders, near vital functional or cosmetic structures and for tumors where other therapies have failed.

After the visible portion of the tumor is removed, there are two basic steps to each MOHS micrographic surgery stage. The physician then removes the skin at the base of the defect created by removing the tumor. Next, this tissue is processed and examined under the microscope. If any tumor is seen during the microscopic examination, its location is established and thin layer of additional tissue is removed. The entire process is repeated until no tumor is seen on the microscopic examination.

Although no surgeon or technique can guarantee a 100% chance of cure, this surgical technique offers a 97-99% chance for the complete removal of skin cancers.
 

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