ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
How Long Does Mohs Micrographic Surgery Take?
Total removal of a skin cancer, which may involve several surgical stages, is usually completed in one day. After the surgery, a decision is made as to the best way to manage the wound created by the surgery.
How Effective Is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Using the Mohs micrographic surgical technique, the percentage of success is very high, often 95% to 98%, even if other forms of treatment have failed. Therefore, with this technique, an excellent chance of cure is achieved. However, no one can guarantee a 100% chance of cure.

What Are The Advantages Of Mohs Micrographic Surgery?
After the initial tissue is removed, the surgeon can pinpoint with the microscope the areas where there is cancer and then selectively remove tissue only from those areas in the following surgical stages. In this way, the skin cancer is traced out to its roots with little guesswork involved, which results in: (1) the removal of as little normal tissue as possible, and (2) the highest chance of curing the patient (under certain circumstances). A frequent reason why you have been sent to us is that other forms of therapy have only a 50% to 70% chance of success in curing skin cancers which have previously been treated by several different modalities.
What Are The Disadvantages?
Mohs micrographic surgery is performed under local anesthesia so there is some pain from local anesthetic injections. Also, since the process may involve several surgical stages, the time for this procedure may take several hours and often all day.
Will The Surgery Leave A Scar?

Yes. Most forms of therapy will leave a scar. However, the Mohs micrographic surgical procedure tends to minimize this as much as possible. After the wound is healed you may wish to have the scar improved. Generally, time alone will improve all scars. Any scar may be further touched up and improved with a varied of techniques, such as injections, sanding (dermabrasion), laser, or further surgery. Remember, all scars improve with time.

My Skin Cancer Has Been Treated Several Times. Will I Ever Be Cured?
A frequent reason why you have been sent to us for Mohs micrographic surgery is that other forms of treatment have failed. This does not mean that you are cancer prone or have a hopeless case. It merely means that the methods used to treat you in the past were not effective enough to destroy all of your skin cancer cells. Because Mohs micrographic surgery uses a complete, systematic microscopic examination to search out the roots of the cancer, it cures almost all patients - even those in whom skin cancer has persisted in spit of several other treatment modalities.
What Happens If I Do Not Have My Skin Cancer Treated?
All types of skin cancer will grow and invade nearby tissue. How fast a skin cancer will grow is unpredictable and varies from person to person. Sometimes skin cancer will destroy important structures such as the nose, lip, or eye. Occasionally, skin cancers can cause death.
© Richard G. Bennett, M.D. 2003