doctor doing a dermoscopy dermoscopy prevention on a female patient in his office.

Q: What is the process of Mohs surgery?

A: Mohs surgery is a technique where cancerous lesions are removed one layer at a time until the healthy tissues are found. The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove all the cancer cells while keeping your healthy tissue intact.

Q: What is cosmetic repair?

A: There are two parts of the Mohs procedure. The first part is the removal of the entire tumor. The second portion of the procedure is the repair of the wound. A certified Mohs surgeon employs a cosmetic closure technique that is aesthetically pleasing to reduce the effects of scaring from the procedure.

Q: Do all dermatologic surgeons also perform cosmetic repair?

A: The answer is no. A dermatologic surgeon must also be certified in cosmetic surgery in order to perform repairs.

Q: Are there certain types of skin cancer that qualify for Mohs surgery?

A: Mohs surgery has great success for both basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.

Q: What is the success rate for Mohs?

A: Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer – up to 99%.

Q: Does Mohs Surgery require a hospital stay?

A: This procedure is done under local anesthesia, and nearly all patients can be managed on an outpatient basis. Local anesthesia is administered around the area of the tumor. Typically, the procedure starts early in the morning and can be completed the same day, depending on the extent of the tumor and the amount or reconstruction necessary.

Q: Is post-op follow-up required?

A: Post-surgical check-ups are recommended in order to monitor the patient’s progress and spot any possible cancer recurrence in a timely manner. Since it is likely that two out of every five patients with one skin cancer will develop another within five years, follow-up is extremely important for early detection of any new lesions.

Dr. Oswald Mikell is a Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery, and is certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. He is also double board certified in Mohs Surgery with Cosmetic Repair.