Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly specialized and precise technique that offers the highest cure rate among treatments for skin cancer. The Mohs technique aims to preserve as much healthy skin as possible for maximum cosmetic results.
An enduring method
Mohs micrographic surgery was first developed in the 1930s by Dr. Frederic Mohs. While new skin cancer treatments are constantly being developed, Mohs has stood the test of time and required very few refinements. It is even recommended in more aggressive or invasive skin cancer cases because a surface lesion may only represent the “tip of the iceberg” problem-wise. Once a biopsy is performed, it could be a patient’s skin cancer is no longer even visible.
Layer by layer
Rather than remove a large area of skin tissue blindly, the Mohs technique zeros in and removes a visible tumor along with a thin layer of surrounding tissue. The tissue is then examined under a microscope and if any evidence of cancer is revealed, the surgeon goes back in and removes another thin layer of tissue from the same area. The procedure continues in this manner until all samples are shown to be free of cancer. Typically, most tumors require 1 to 3 stages for complete removal.
Mohs surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure and only a local anesthesia is administered around the area of the tumor. Mohs surgery is shown to be successful at eradicating basal cell and squamous carcinomas in almost 100% of cases. It can be used to treat malignant melanomas as well if their incidence is detected early enough.
For more information, contact Dr. Timothy Jochen, board certified dermatologist and founder of Contour Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center, at (760) 423-4000 or visit www.contourderm.com. Dr. Jochen is an expert in Mohs surgery. He also is an Associate Professor at USC. He was voted a Top Doctor by his peers in 2017 and voted a Best of the Valley Winner for Best Surgeon in 2018 by Desert Sun readers.
Last modified: January 2, 2020