Mohs micrographic surgery is the most effective and advanced treatment for skin cancer. It offers the highest potential for cure. For better understanding, please consider the following:
Overview of Mohs Micrographic Surgery
Originally developed in the 1930s, Mohs micrographic surgery has been refined into the most advanced, precise, and effective treatment for a large variety of skin cancer types. Skin cancer often resembles the “tip of the iceberg” with more tumor cells growing downward and outward into the skin like the roots of a tree. These “roots” are not visible with the naked eye, but can be seen under a microscope. With the Mohs technique, physicians can precisely identify and remove an entire tumor while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed.
Success Rate of Mohs Surgery
The Mohs procedure requires surgically removing skin cancer, layer by layer, and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached (called clear margins). Fellowship trained Mohs surgeons are specially trained as cancer surgeon, pathologist, and reconstructive surgeon. Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer – up to 99%. Other methods of treating cancers have recurrence rates exceeding 10%.
Advantages of Mohs Surgery
Mohs surgery is unique and so effective because of the way the removed tissue is microscopically examined, evaluating 100% of the surgical margins. The pathologic interpretation of the tissue margins is done on site by the Mohs surgeon, who is specially trained in the reading of these slides, and is best able to correlate any microscopic findings with the surgical site on the patient.
Advantages of Mohs surgery include:
– Ensuring complete cancer removal during surgery, virtually eliminating the chance of the cancer growing back
– Minimizing the amount of healthy tissue lost
– Maximizing the functional and cosmetic outcome resulting from surgery
– Repairing the site of the cancer the same day the cancer is removed, in most cases
– Curing skin cancer when other methods have failed
Other skin cancer treatment methods require the provider to blindly estimate the amount of tissue to treat, which can result in the unnecessary removal of healthy skin tissue and tumor re-growth if any cancer is missed.
Cost-Effectiveness of Mohs Surgery
Because of Mohs surgery’s high success rate, most patients require only a single surgery. This surgery usually includes repair of the wound as well. Other methods might require additional surgeries and pathology readings in order to treat the cancer if it is not completely removed and to repair the wound. Each of these additional surgeries and pathology readings require separate fees, while a single Mohs surgery procedure includes all of these into one fee.
There are also human costs to be considered. Because Mohs surgery minimizes the amount of healthy tissue removed, it also reduces the impact to the surrounding area. The aesthetic outcome of the surgery is optimized. Furthermore, the psychological impact of being subjected to multiple procedures when cancer recurs can be significant. Because the process of Mohs surgery minimizes the risk of recurrence, it reduces or eliminates the costs of larger, more serious surgeries for recurrent skin cancers.