Jefferson University Hospitals

Mohs Micrographic Surgery

Mohs micrographic surgery is one of the most advanced methods used to remove basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common skin cancers. It minimizes damage to surrounding healthy tissue and the risk of leaving cancerous tissue behind.

This sophisticated outpatient procedure, named after its inventor, Dr. Frederic Mohs, is often used to treat recurrent skin cancers and is performed by Jefferson dermatologists in Philadelphia and around the Delaware Valley.

What Does Mohs Micrographic Surgery Involve?

Mohs involves removing one thin layer of tissue at a time and immediately studying those layers under a microscope for the presence of cancer cells. If the margins are free of cancer, the surgery is over. If not, more tissue is removed where the cancer cells were found, and the procedure is repeated until the samples indicate that the skin cancer is completely removed.

Cure rates for primary basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are between 95 and 99 percent, depending on the type of tumor and its location. Cure rates for secondary and recurrent skin cancers depend on the type and aggressiveness of the tumor.