Since its original development by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs surgery has evolved to become the most advanced and precise process for surgical removal of many types of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The Mohs procedure allows for the highest success rate and the smallest removal of tissue.
With the Mohs procedure, skin cancer is removed one layer at a time until clear (cancer-free) margins are obtained microscopically. Tissue is uniquely processed to allow the surgeon to both evaluate 100% of the deep and peripheral margins under the microscope and correlate microscopic findings with the surgical site. As such, the amount of healthy tissue removed is minimized and functional and cosmetic outcomes are optimized, all while offering the highest cure rates and lowest rates of recurrence.
Please contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in the University of Texas at Austin Health Transformation Building in downtown Austin. Dr. Fox and his staff look forward to meeting with you and sharing more information about your skin care options.
Mohs Surgery: A Quick Overview
Advantages of Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgeons are specially trained to perform skin surgery often involving high risk locations, correlate microscopic findings with the surgical site on the patient, and perform advanced reconstructive surgery techniques. Advantages of Mohs surgery include:
- Ensuring complete skin cancer removal during surgery, minimizing the chance of the cancer growing back
- Minimizing the amount of healthy tissue lost
- Repairing the site of the cancer the same day the cancer is removed, in most cases
- Curing skin cancer when other methods have failed
Choosing Mohs Surgery
Compared with other methods of treatment for skin cancer, Mohs surgery may be especially appropriate for skin cancers, particularly basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, that:
- Have aggressive growth histology
- Involve areas where preserving cosmetic appearance and function are important
- Have recurred after previous treatment or are likely to recur
- Are located in scar tissue
- Are large or rapidly growing
- Have edges that are ill-defined
Reconstruction after Mohs Surgery
After determining that the affected area is cancer free, our physicians will review skin cancer reconstructive surgery options with you. The best reconstruction option for each case is determined based on patient desires and goals as well as the size, depth and location of the tumor removed. Various options exist. For example,
- Small, simple wounds may be allowed to heal by themselves
- Slightly larger wounds may be closed with stitches in a side-to-side fashion
- Larger or more complicated wounds may require a skin graft from another area of the body or a flap, which closes the defect with skin adjacent to the wound
- On rarer occasions, the patient may be referred to another reconstructive surgical specialist for coordinated, multidisciplinary reconstruction
Post-surgical wound care instructions will be thoroughly reviewed at the time of your surgery visit, and post-operative wound checks will be arranged accordingly.