DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Mohs surgery is a precise surgical technique used to treat skin cancer. During Mohs surgery, layers of cancer-containing skin are progressively removed and examined until only cancer-free tissue remains. Mohs surgery is also known as Mohs micrographic surgery.
The goal of Mohs surgery is to remove as much of the skin cancer as possible, while doing minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Mohs surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic.
Mohs surgery is an improvement to standard surgery (local excision), which involves removing the visible cancer and a small margin of healthy tissue all at once. Mohs surgery allows surgeons to verify that all cancer cells have been removed at the time of surgery. This increases the chance of a cure and reduces the need for additional treatments or additional surgery.
- Robinson JK, et al. Surgery of the Skin: Procedural Dermatology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:711.
- Benedetto PX, et al. Mohs micrographic surgery technique. Dermatologic Clinics. 2011;29:141.
- Nehal K, et al. Mohs surgery. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Mosterd K, et al. Surgical excision versus Mohs' micrographic surgery for primary and recurrent basal-cell carcinoma of the face: A prospective randomised controlled trial with 5-years' follow-up. Lancet Oncology. 2008;9:1149.
- Tierney EP, et al. Recent changes in the workforce and practice of dermatologic surgery. Dermatologic Surgery. 2009;35:413.
- Murphy ME, et al. Errors in the interpretation of Mohs histopathology sections over a 1-year fellowship. Dermatologic Surgery. 2008;34:1637.
- Basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed July 11, 2012.
- Important patient information regarding Mohs micrographic surgery in the treatment of skin cancer. American Society for Mohs Surgery. http://www.mohssurgery.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3335. Accessed July 6, 2012.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 19, 2012.