What can Mohs surgery treat?

Mohs surgery also called Mohs micrographic surgery is a specific surgical technique that can be used to remove many common skin cancers such asbasal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell cancers (SCC) and certain melanomas, especially of the face.

Your doctor may have referred you for micrographic surgery at the Cadogan Clinic Skin Tumour Unit for this treatment if:

+ The cancer is in an important cosmetic or functional areas such as the eyelids, nose, ears, lips, genitals and hands.
+ Your skin cancer was treated in the past and has returned.
+ The scar tissue exists in the vicinity of the skin cancer.
+ There have been previous radiotherapy treatment in the area.
+ The edges of the skin cancer cannot be clearly defined, and the tumour type is shown to be infiltrative.
+ Your skin cancer is growing rapidly.

The aim of Mohs surgery is to remove all the skin cancer, but preserve normal tissue. It is the most certain way of curing the tumour.

Mohs treatment involves removing one layer of skin at a time. Each layer that is removed is scrutinised under a microscope in order to look for cancer cells. The process continues until cancer cells are no longer found.

The Mohs surgery is carried out by a dermatologist specially trained Mohs surgery. They are a rare breed.  He will be able to repair the resulting defect. If the tumour is in a difficult area or large you may require a skin graft or skin flap. The Cadogan Clinic has reconstructive surgeons at hand who may help. The insurance companies need to be fully involved in the decision to add the extra cost of a reconstructive surgeon’s consultation and operation.

We believe that Mohs surgery should only be performed in a specialised unit where the consultation, Mohs surgery, reconstruction and follow-up are done in the same unit with a multidisciplinary team discussing every patient and decision. All the surgery must be performed in a proper operating theatre with appropriate air changes and nursing staff. Most procedures are performed under local anaesthetic, but general anaesthesia should be available.

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