What Is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

older woman highlighting the eyes

Mohs micrographic surgery is a skin-sparing technique used for the treatment of skin cancer. In this manner, skin cancer is removed with a small margin of clinically normal tissue and then frozen. The orientation of the tissue is maintained and mapped to ensure that almost all of the tissue margins are examined. The tissue is then cut into thin sections, placed on glass slides, and stained. These sections are examined by the surgeon, and any residual tumor is mapped. This process allows the surgeon to know exactly where he or she needs to revisit in order to ensure that the tumor is removed in its entirety. Once the tumor has been cleared, the surgeon may then close the wound.

According to the American College of Mohs Surgery and the American Society for Mohs Surgery, the Mohs technique was developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs in the 1930s. The process originally involved fixing cancerous tissue on the patient with zinc chloride paste. Although he achieved incredible cure rates, the paste was uncomfortable for the patient and only one application could be performed each day. As a faster alternative during the treatment of a basal cell carcinoma on the eyelid of a patient, Mohs attempted to process the last few sections without the zinc chloride paste. He was so pleased with the frozen tangential sections obtained that he continued to utilize this method for all eyelid carcinomas. Over half a century later, the Mohs technique is still the treatment of choice for most skin cancers on the head or neck and for recurrent or locally aggressive tumors on other parts of the body.
If you have been diagnosed with a skin cancer or are concerned about a skin lesion, contact our office today and let one of our friendly staff members get you scheduled for a consultation. Call us at 303.683.3235 or fill out our online contact form.

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