Mohs surgery, also known as Mohs micrographic surgery or more commonly just referred to as Mohs, is named after Dr. Frederick Mohs, the doctor who pioneered the research and technique that lead to the techniques used today. It is a highly specialized type of surgery for skin cancers that are considered more high risk or are in areas where tissue preservation is important. Examples include: skin cancers that have a high risk of recurrence or that have recurred after previous treatment, are large and aggressive, have borders that are difficult to define, and in areas on the face, hands, feet, and genitals. Mohs has a very high cure rate. When treating basal cell (BCCs) or squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) the cure rate is 98%, and 95% for BCCs that have recurred after being treated previously.
What Is The Process Of Mohs Surgery?
Dr. Myers performs Mohs at our Lehi location in a procedure room designated for surgical procedures. The entire procedure is performed under local anesthesia, which allows the patient to stay awake without feeling any pain during the procedure.
Dr. Myers will first remove the visible portion of the skin cancer and then a small temporary bandage is placed over the site, while the tissue layer is processed the patient waits in the room. Our in-office lab processes the removed tissue into a slide that allows Dr. Myers to examine the area microscopically. If he sees that cancer cells remain, he will go back and repeat the process. This is done until no cancer cells remain. After Dr. Myers determines that there are no more cancer cells, he will then close the area. Dr. Myers takes great care to leave as minimal of a scar as possible and maximize cosmetic results.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
Every patient is different, therefore each Mohs procedure will vary in length. We recommend that patients plan to be in the office for 2-4 hours. The majority of the time will be waiting for the tissue to be processed, as this can take anywhere from 30-40 minutes. We have TVs in the procedure rooms for the patients to watch while waiting, but we still recommend that each patient bring something that they can do while they wait.
How Can I Prepare?
Let the medical staff know about all medication, including herbal supplements, that you are currently taking. Sometimes it may be necessary to stop taking certain medications prior to the procedure. Also, let the staff know of any recent surgeries or medical problems of which we need to be aware to give you proper care. On the day of the procedure, eat breakfast and have your schedule clear for the rest of the day. Wear comfortable clothing to the appointment and bring with you something to pass the time during the waiting process.
What can I expect following the procedure?
After the procedure, you will have a bandage placed on the surgery site. You will be given proper wound care instructions that you will need to take care of the site. Usually, the stitches will need to stay in place for 1-2 weeks, depending on the site, and then you will return to the office to have them removed. Some patients can experience pain and swelling in the areas, but Dr. Myers gives recommendations on how to control any discomfort you may experience.
Is this procedure right for me?
Only a trained Mohs Surgeon, such as Dr. Myers, can determine if Mohs is right for you. Dr. Myers is a fellow of the American Academy of Mohs Surgery and has performed hundreds of Mohs procedures. If you have any concerning spots, make an appointment to have a skin check performed and it can be determined if Mohs would be an appropriate treatment option.
Dr. David Myers
Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.