Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer Treatment

The number of people developing skin cancer has been increasing for decades. Now, one in five people in the United States will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Every year, more women and men under the age of 40 are being diagnosed with skin cancer, and 5.4 million cases of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are treated every year.

Sun exposure and indoor tanning are the biggest risk factors to developing these skin cancers, and most of them form in areas that get the most sun, such as the head and neck. For people who develop BCC or SCC, Mohs surgery is a very effective treatment with an extremely high cure rate.

What is Mohs surgery?

Dr. Frederic Mohs invented Mohs micrographic surgery in the 1930s, and it became a mainstream treatment for skin cancer when Dr. Pete Robins refined the technique in the 1970s. Word began to spread as the use of Mohs surgery to treat skin cancers grew, especially for skin cancers in the head and neck region.

How Mohs surgery works

Mohs surgery differs from routine surgery in that Mohs is done in stages during a single outpatient visit. The surgeon removes the problematic area on the skin, sends it to the pathology lab to be read. At Water’s Edge Dermatology, we have an onsite pathology lab where the samples are read immediately and patients can learn the results throughout the procedure.

If the sample shows that cancer cells still exist in the excised skin, the surgeon removes another layer of skin and sends it back to the lab. This is done continuously until the results show clear margins. At that point, the surgeon closes the wound and the patient goes home. At Water’s Edge Dermatology, Mohs surgery is efficient, effective and comfortable because the surgical removal, lab evaluation and wound reconstruction (in most cases) are all done in one visit.

Who should have Mohs surgery?

Because it has a high cure rate of 98 percent, Mohs surgery is typically is recommended for nonmelanoma skin cancers located on the face, neck, scalp, ears, eyes, nose, eyelids, lips, ears, hands and feet. Mohs is also used to treat cancers that may have returned after initial treatment and cancers that were not completely removed by other treatments.

Is Mohs surgery covered by insurance?

Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover Mohs surgery. Check with your insurance provider to confirm that Mohs is covered under your plan.

Will Mohs surgery leave a scar?

All surgical procedures have the potential for some degree of scaring. Mohs surgery often results in smaller, less noticeable scars than other skin cancer removal methods, and most scars improve in appearance naturally over time.

What should I do if I am concerned about possible skin cancer?

If you have any suspicious areas on your skin, make an appointment to have it evaluated by a Water’s Edge dermatologist. If skin cancer is suspected, your doctor may perform a biopsy for further examination.

Make an appointment today for a skin evaluation: https://www.wederm.com/request-an-appointment.