Mohs is a surgical technique used for precision treatment of skin cancers. Thin layers of tissue are removed and analysed, until only cancer free tissue remains. Achieving the patient’s needs, whilst minimising cosmetic damage.
Alongside aesthetic benefits, Mohs surgery is an accurate procedure, suited to skin cancers in the head and neck region. An approach refined by specialists over many years, cure rates are high.
The main difference between Mohs and normal excisional surgery is that Mohs brings lab analysis to each thin section removed. Normally carried out during surgery, rather than the sample being a biopsy to be sent elsewhere.
There is a version known as “slow Mohs” which can see time separation between stages and may suit lentigo maligna, or melanoma treatment. Even then, the procedure is more immediate and cohesive.
Mohs Surgery Procedure
You will be treated by a surgeon specially trained in Mohs surgery, pathology and reconstructive surgery. They may draw guide marks around a lesion, then inject a local anaesthetic.
The consultant surgeon will remove a fine layer of visible, cancerous tissue. Your wound will be temporarily dressed and you take a break in a waiting area, whilst the surgeon color codes the tissue with ink, to map removal exactly.
A technician will then freeze the tissue, ready to be cut into paper thin sections and placed on slides. These are examined under a microscope by the surgeon, to see if there are remaining cancer cells.
If any exist, they are pinpointed on the map, and you return to the operating room. Further anesthetic may not be needed but can be applied, before precision removal of another tissue layer where cancer cells remain.
The process is repeated, generally not too many times, until the margins of the last removed tissue sample are completely cancer free. The wound will then normally be closed with stitches.
Post Operative Support
Mohs micrographic surgeons are skilled in reconstruction and in cases where the wound requires more than stitches, they will take care of aesthetic needs with a skin flap, or a skin graft.
In a few unusual cases, one of our plastic surgeon may implement reconstruction or closure. After that, your wound will be dressed and a complete explanation given on how to take care of the incision.
If a few rounds are required, the procedure may take several hours. Although each round is fairly light in itself, conducted under local anaesthetic and with regular breaks. We offer facilities for all the rest you require but often not too much.
The procedure offers remarkable medical value, 100% of the tissue margins will have been examined under a microscope. Just cancer free tissue remaining, yet minimal tissue loss and reduced scarring.
The cure rate, swift recovery and reduction in additional treatment are great benefits. If you would like to find out more about how Mohs can help, please talk to our friendly staff.