We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our office. We hope this will help familiarize you with the Mohs micrographic surgical procedure.
What is Mohs micrographic surgery?
Mohs surgery is a method, of treating skin cancers and was developed by Dr. Frederick Mohs of the Department of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Mohs recognized that the extent of a skin cancer is often difficult to determine simply by looking at the surface of the skin. Skin cancers often have "silent extensions" that track under the skin surface. Certain sites, particularly on the face, are prone to this type of growth. Skin cancers that have recurred after previous treatment are also difficult to trace.
Dr. Mohs' technique is to excise the skin cancer in such a way that the edges and undersurface can be examined thoroughly under the microscope. The excised tissue is carefully color coded, mapped and processed onto slides for microscopic interpretation by the Mohs surgeon, All lab work is done in our office under the surgeon's supervision while you wait comfortably in our waiting area. If residual cancer is found, only the areas positive for skin cancer will be re-excised. This process or stage will be repeated until the slides reveal the entire skin cancer has been excised. You can expect to wait approximately one to two hours for each stage of Mohs surgery required. Once the skin cancer is completely removed, the wound will be repaired as discussed during your consultation. We recommend that you expect to be at our office for the better part of the day. If you take medication at a certain time during the day, please be sure to bring your medication with you.
What are the advantages of Mohs surgery?
The procedure is tissue sparing as only involved areas are excised, thereby enhancing the cosmetic result. Also, since the procedure allows for complete removal of the tumor, the chance for recurrence is low. Mohs has the highest cure rate - 99%.
Do I need to do anything special prior to surgery?
During Mohs surgery and the repair of the wound, we use the same local anesthetic that was used during the biopsy. Therefore, you will be able to eat lightly before surgery. If you will be leaving our facility for your repair, eating prior to surgery will be addressed in advance.
Aspirin, aspirin-containing compounds, and ibuprofen should not be taken ten days prior to surgery. Any exceptions will be discussed prior to the surgery at your consultation. If you are taking an anticoagulant i.e.: Plavix® or Coumadin®, discontinuing may be recommended and will be cleared with your primary care physician. Please advise us if you are taking Vitamin E or any herbal supplements. Other important issues such as medical problems, medications, allergies and prophylactic antibiotics will be discussed during consultation prior to surgery. If your surgical site is on the face, we recommend you refrain from wearing a garment that will be pulled over your head. Loose fitting or button-down garments will be most comfortable.
For more information, visit the American College of Mohs Surgery http://www.mohscollege.org.