What you should know about Mohs surgery for skin cancer
Mohs surgery often is used in the treatment of skin cancers on the face, scalp, hands, feet and genitals, though it also can be used on other areas of the body. The procedure typically is performed under local anesthesia in the doctor’s office.
Mohs surgery uses a precise technique to sequentially remove layers of skin and adjacent soft tissue. The excised layers of tissue are frozen, stained with special dyes and then examined under the microscope to determine if they contain remaining cancer cells. If more cancer cells are present, an additional skin layer is then removed and examined. Repeated removals of skin are limited to areas in which cancer cells remain. This sequential excision procedure continues until microscopic examinations confirm that the skin cancer has been completely removed.
After the skin cancer has been removed, the surgeon treats the wound in a manner that will promote both good healing and preservation of appearance. Wound treatment methods include:
- Allowing the wound to heal naturally.
- Closing the wound simply with stitches.
- Cover the wound with skin from another area of the body (skin graft) or from adjacent area (skin flap).