Let’s Talk About Mohs Surgery

Q: Why choose Mohs surgery for skin cancer removal?

A: Mohs surgery allows preservation of the maximum amount of healthy tissue while removing all cancerous tissue. It is thus a highly desirable surgery for minimizing scarring in cosmetically sensitive areas like the face, head, and neck. Mohs allows the surgeon to examine the skin tissue layer-by-layer to make sure all of the cancerous cells are identified and completely removed on the day of surgery. This certainty comes from the way we examine tissue samples under a microscope during surgery, looking at 100% percent of the margin, to visually confirm when all of the cancerous cells have been removed.

Q: How often can all of the skin cancer be removed in the first layer of the excision?

A: Roughly 50% of patients end up only needing a single layer of skin removed to eliminate their cancerous tissue. The added plus is that this layer-by-layer approach allows minimization of the size of the incision and promote healing.

Q: What about success rate?

A: Mohs surgery is one of the most effective forms of treatment for non-melanoma skin cancers with success rates as high as 98% to 99% for those being treated for the first time.

Q: What about pain after surgery?

A: Typically, a patient’s pain after Mohs surgery is minimal and can be easily controlled by over-the-counter medications like Tylenol® or Advil®. And, on a pain scale from 1 to 10 most of my patients report having a pain level of 0 within two days or fewer after their surgery.

Josh A. Hammel, MD, FAAD

Board-Certified Dermatologist and Fellowship-Trained Mohs Surgeon
Dermatology Specialists of Georgia