Mohs surgery or Mohs Micrographic Surgery is a treatment for some types of skin cancer- most often a type called basal cell carcinoma (rodent ulcer).
This surgery takes several hours. Because no one can tell how big the cancer will be and what the size of its roots are, we ask you to prepare to stay with us the whole day (0830-1730).
There is a team of highly experienced Mohs nurses that will be responsible for your care throughout your stay as well as your surgeon. They will be available to support you through your stay and can answer any questions you may have.
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.
There are 2 main alternatives to Mohs surgery: Radiotherapy (x-ray treatment) and removal of the skin cancer in the standard way without the guidance of the microscope checks.
We will discuss the different treatment options with you at your consultation. Not all treatment choices are suitable or possible for your particular skin cancer and they do not generally offer as high a cure rate as Mohs surgery.
No treatment for skin cancer is 100% effective. Skin cancers can grow back after any type of treatment, but the risk is much lower following Mohs surgery.
Mohs surgery offers the best cure rate for basal cell cancer compared with all other treatments. The risk of a BCC returning after Mohs surgery is around 1-2% (1 or 2 in 100 patients) for a basal cell carcinoma that has never received treatment before
Around 6-8% (6 to 8 in 100 patients) for basal cell carcinomas that have grown back after treatment for example with standard surgery or radiotherapy.
Mohs surgery results in a surgical wound the size of which reflects the true size of the skin cancer. Mohs surgeons have extensive training in wound reconstruction and plastic surgery and in most cases the Mohs surgeon will perform the wound repair.
There are generally 3 ways to repair a wound:
Allowing the wound to heal naturally without additional surgery. This is normally only possible in certain sites.
Closing the wound directly with stitches.
Using a skin graft or skin flap to repair the wound. Some patients will need to transfer to other hospitals for their repair by eye surgeons, ENT surgeons or plastic surgeons.
If this applies to you, we will discuss this with you in the clinic in advance. Unless you are being transferred to another hospital you will normally be able to go home the same day.
You will have a dressing over your wound that will stay in place for 2 – 7 days depending on the repair and may be quite large and bulky. Most patients return to the Dermatology Department to have their sutures removed one week later. In most cases, you will feel quite well after 48 hours though may not wish to return to work for 1 week once we remove the sutures.
Each case will be different and we will advise you when you can return to work. At 6 weeks we will review the wound and we will discuss skin care/sun protection.
We perform the operation under local anaesthetic, as a result, you may feel quite tired afterwards and you should plan a more restful 2 days or so after surgery.
If you smoke you should avoid smoking for at least 3-4 days before and after surgery as smoking slows down the wound healing process. Similarly, try and avoid alcohol for 3 – 4 days before and after surgery as this can make your wound bleed more.
At Everything Skin Clinic™, we have a team of highly trained Consultant dermatologists, who have completed specialist training in Dermatology and are on the specialist register of the General Medical Council. All our consultants hold substantive contracts with the best Dermatology centres in leading NHS hospitals. Therefore, you can be certain of the highest quality private dermatology acne care.
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“Excellent treatment from Dr Madan at Everything Skin. He removed 2 basal cell carcinomas on my face using Mohs surgery and now after 2 months it is difficult to see any sign of the scars. In addition there is peace of mind knowing that as far as possible all of the BCC was removed in one go.”
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