Home > Health & Wellness > Health Library > Mohs Micrographic Surgery for Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer
Mohs micrographic surgery involves removing a
skin cancer one layer at a time and examining these layers under a microscope
immediately after they are removed. This procedure allows for a close
examination of each layer of skin to detect cancer cells. It also allows a
minimal amount of tissue to be removed while making sure that all
the cancer cells are removed.
local anesthetic is injected into the skin before the
surgery. Your doctor then begins to remove the skin cancer and a small amount
of healthy tissue, one layer of skin at a time. Each tissue layer is prepared
and examined under the microscope for cancer cells. Surgery is complete when no
more cancer cells are detected.
Recovery may take 2 to 4 weeks,
depending on the extent of surgery.
Mohs micrographic surgery may be used
for removal of skin cancer that:
Mohs micrographic surgery can be an
effective treatment for skin cancer. This technique preserves as much nearby
healthy skin as possible. It is recommended for squamous cell carcinoma when the highest cure rate is desired while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible.footnote 1 And for basal cell carcinoma, Mohs surgery is the best treatment for sparing healthy tissue and preventing recurrence.footnote 2
Risks of surgery include:
Mohs micrographic surgery is the
best procedure to preserve skin tissue surrounding the cancer. But it requires
special training and equipment. And it is time-consuming and expensive.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Grossman D, Leffell DJ (2012). Squamous cell carcinoma. In LA Goldman et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1283–1294. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Carucci JA, et al. (2012). Basal cell carcinoma. In LA Goldman et al., eds., Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine, 8th ed., vol. 1, pp. 1294–1303. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerAmy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Amy McMichael, MD - Dermatology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
I want to...
1111 Duff Avenue Ames, Iowa 50010
515-239-2011 Email us
Anywhere in Iowa 800-524-6877