Mohs Surgery

This procedure is only done in our Kirksville Office Location.

Our physicians have chosen this treatment for your skin cancer because of:

  • Location: not enough tissue to do a wide excision or may distort facial features
  • Type of cancer: nodular or cystic subtypes are a little more aggressive.  Morhpheaform spreads out like fingers making it more difficult to determine margins
  • Size of the original lesion: larger than 1 cm qualifies
  • Recurrence: if a cancer has come back or comes up close to the scar of a previous skin cancer site, it is unpredictable as to the growth pattern

This procedure will take the least amount of skin, but yet make sure all the cancer is gone from that location. If the skin cancer would be located on arm, back or stomach, the physician would be able to take an extra margin of skin and be confident in removing it. Due to the reasons above, the Mohs procedure is the best treatment and has the highest cure rate between 97%-98%. No treatment is 100%.

The numbing process is the same as when the original biopsy was performed in a larger area. When the piece of skin is removed it is marked with dyes in four sections before sending it to our Mohs lab. This enables the physician to see which area still needs more tissue removed according to the markings after the tissues are frozen and sectioned in our Mohs lab. The patient will remain in the room while the tissue is processed.

If the tissue is free of cancer then the site can be closed with stitches. If there are still cancer cells in the tissue, the physician will then remove more tissue utilizing the dye markings and taking only the tissue that is positive for cancer. The patient then again waits while the tissue is processed in the Mohs lab. This process is repeated until the tissue is free from cancer. For this reason it is difficult to tell you how long you will be in the office.

As soon as it is determined that the tissue is cancer free, the physician will then determine the best method for closing the site. Our physicians use the same types of closures that Plastic Surgeons use. It is their goal to give you the best cosmetically pleasing type of closure.

When you call to schedule this procedure, the nurses may need to ask you some preoperative questions.