How did it get its name?
The concept was first developed by Dr. Fredrick Mohs in the 1930s. Since that time a great number of gifted surgeons have contributed to the refinement and improvement of this original technique. However, it still rightfully carries the name of its founder. The technique involves removing a small sample of skin around a skin cancer. This is taken in the shape of a lens to allow for proper processing. The tissue is then frozen to -24 degrees and cut into sections as thin as a few micrometers.
Why Mohs Surgery?
It is the most effective and advanced treatment for skin cancer. There are three main benefits:
1. It offers the highest cure rate.
2. It leaves the smallest wound possible.
Comparison of the two techniques. The blue outside lines show the amount of skin removed.
3. The entire procedure is performed in one day.
How Mohs Works
The roots of a skin cancer may extend beyond the visible portion of the tumor. If these roots are not removed, the cancer will recur.
The visible tumor is surgically removed.
A layer of skin is removed and divided into sections. The ACMS surgeon then color codes each of these sections with dyes and makes reference marks on the skin to show the source of these sections. A map of the surgical site is then drawn.
The undersurface and edges of each section are microscopically examined for evidence of remaining
If cancer cells are found under the microscope, the ACMS surgeon marks their location onto the "map" and returns to the patient to remove another layer of skin - but only from precisely where the cancer cells remain.
The removal process stops when there is no longer any evidence of cancer remaining in the surgical site. Because Mohs surgey removes only tissue containing cancer, it ensures that the maximum amount of healthy tissue is kept intact. Reconstruction is now performed.