Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialised surgical method for removing certain types of skin cancer.
Traditionally, operations for treating skin cancer surgically have involved removal of the area affected by the skin cancer together with an area of healthy unaffected skin around and below the skin cancer in order to ensure that the entire cancer has been completely removed with suitable margins of excision. Once removed, the skin is sent to the laboratory for examination by a pathologist to confirm whether the operation has been successful or not. It usually takes about 2 weeks for pathology report to become available. If the report shows that the skin cancer has not been fully removed, a further procedure may be necessary.
During the procedure of Mohs micrographic surgery, the skin cancer is removed a thin layer at a time with a small margin of healthy skin surrounding it. Each layer is immediately checked under the microscope by either the surgeon or a pathologist. The layer of skin is examined in horizontal sections. A further layer is taken from any areas in which the tumour remains until all of the skin cancer has been fully removed. The advantage of removing the skin layer by layer in this way is that as little healthy skin around the skin cancer is removed, which keeps the wound as small as possible. Secondly, your dermatological surgeon can be almost certain that the skin cancer is fully removed on the day of the procedure.