Mohs surgery is a way to treat and cure certain skin cancers. Surgeons trained in the Mohs procedure can do this surgery. It allows skin cancer to be removed with less damage to the healthy skin around it.
Mohs surgery usually takes place in the doctor's office. The surgery is started early in the morning and is done in one day. Sometimes if the tumor is big or you need reconstruction, it could take 2 visits.
During the procedure, the Mohs surgeon removes the cancer one layer of skin at a time until all the cancer has been removed. The surgeon will:
- Numb your skin where cancer is so you do not feel any pain. You stay awake for the procedure.
- Remove the visible tumor along with a thin layer of tissue next to the tumor.
- Look at the tissue under a microscope.
- Check for cancer. If there is still cancer in that layer, the doctor will take out another layer and look at that under the microscope.
- Keep repeating this procedure until there is no cancer found in a layer. Each round takes about 1 hour. The surgery takes 20 to 30 minutes and looking at the layer under the microscope takes 30 minutes.
- Do about 2 to 3 rounds to get all of the cancer.
- Stop any bleeding by applying a pressure dressing, using a small probe to heat the skin (electrocautery), or giving you a stitch.