Mohs Surgery | Manchester Dermatologist
Mohs Surgery, or Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a specialisedst form of treatment for certain types of skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma (BCCs) and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs).
Mohs Surgery | Skin Cancer
Basal Cell Carcinomas (BCCs) and Squamous Cell Carcinomas (SCCs) are the two most common types of skin cancer. However, they are also easier to treat and are known as non-melanoma skin cancers. Basal Cell Carcinomas are also referred to as a rodent ulcer.
The third type of skin cancer is melanomas, these are also called malignant melanoma and are less common, however melanoma is the most dangerous of the skin cancers.
How is Mohs Surgery different form other surgeries?
Unlike many other skin cancer removal procedures, this type of surgery is different from other forms of surgery in that it allows the immediate and complete microscope examination of the specimen.
It is not possible for a surgeon to see the roots of a skin cancer under the skin surface without a microscope. Mohs surgery gives the best chance of cure for non-melanoma skin cancers compared to all other treatments- even if the skin cancer has grown back following previous treatment. Mohs surgery is also very valuable for preserving normal skin around important sites such as the nose, lips, eyes or ears and keeping the wound as small as possible.
Mohs Surgery Procedure
Mohs Surgery is only performed by specialist dermatologists who have undergone fellowship training in Mohs micrographic surgery.
Firstly, the skin around the treatment site is made numb by using a local anaesthetic injection.
Next, the visible cancer is removed and the specimen is examined under a microscope after it is processed in the Mohs laboratory. This allows the Mohs surgeon to see if there is any cancerous or abnormal cells left. This takes around 45-60 minutes and during this time, you will be asked to sit in the recovery area
Following this, a diagram (a “Mohs map”) of the removed specimen is then drawn. This microscope check will show if the cancer has been completely removed or if there’s any remaining.
If there is any cancer remaining, it is carefully marked on the Mohs map and informs the surgeon precisely where he/she needs to go back to take further specimens.
If further tissue is to be removed, you will be asked to come back into the theatre for this once more. This cycle is then repeated until the cancer has been fully removed.
How long does the full procedure take?
As the specimens need to be checked in between removal, Mohs Surgery can take several hours and we ask the patients to stay in the clinic for the entire day (10-4).