Moh's micrographic surgery is a skin-sparing surgical technique that allows for 100% microscopic examination of the surgical skin margin. It is named after Dr. Frederic Mohs, the surgeon who developed this technique for skin cancer removal in the 1930s.
Moh's micrographic surgery is unique from other methods of skin cancer removal in that it allows immediate and complete visualization of the entire tissue margin of excised tissue samples. It is typically reserved for specific clinical scenarios. These include skin cancers that occur on the face or scalp, skin cancers in cosmetically or functionally important areas of the body such as the hands, feet, or genitalia, and aggressive or recurrent skin cancers. The Moh's surgical procedure is well tolerated and performed under local anesthesia.
Referral for Moh's Micrographic Surgery
The dermatology specialists at DermCARE Practitioners are extremely knowledgeable about the referral criteria for Mohs Micrographic Surgery (MMS). We work closely with several fully qualified and experienced Mohs surgeons in the Louisville area.
If your skin cancer biopsy or recurrent skin cancer meets the criteria for MMS we will contact one of them on your behalf.
The Staff at DermCARE will continue to follow you in the months and years after your MMS to monitor for any new or recurrent cancerous or pre-cancerous growths.
The Moh's Step-by-Step Process
Moh's micrographic surgery is completed in the office. Depending on the case, the procedure may take between 1 to 4 hours. Dermatologists who perform Moh's micrographic surgery have specialized residency, fellowship, or other intensive training experience. These dermatologic surgeons have appropriate laboratory facilities and histotechnological staff.
The main advantage of Moh's micrographic surgery is its complete examination of the tissue margin. Some skin cancers are larger than anticipated or have “roots” that may be missed if simple surgical excision with standard margins is performed. By taking small margins in successive stages, Mohs can spare valuable, healthy tissue so skin is spared and surgical reconstruction is aided.
Under local anesthesia, the patient undergoes removal surgery by scalpel as portions of the tumor are excised by the dermatologic surgeon.
All of the cancerous tissue is eventually yet slowly excised by the board-certified dermatologist and skin cancer surgeon.
The tumor and tissue are sent to a lab and analyzed. This is sometimes enough to remove the cancer entirely.
If the lab results show the cancer was completely removed, the procedure is complete. If the lab results show remaining cancerous tissue, the process repeats itself and another layer of skin is removed.
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