Mohs micrographic surgery is a highly specialized state-of-the-art treatment
for skin cancer.
Only physicians who have been specially trained in this technique perform
this procedure. Dr. David Cowan has received advanced training in surgery,
pathology, and facial reconstructive surgery and has completed the procedure
successfully for thousands of patients.
The Mohs Difference
Mohs micrographic surgery differs from other treatments for skin cancer
by combining surgical removal of the affected skin with microscopic analysis
of the tissue that day.
This helps to ensure that all of the cancer has been removed, while leaving
the surrounding healthy skin intact and unharmed.
By using very detailed mapping techniques and microscopic examination
of cancerous tissue, the “roots” of the skin cancer are extracted
in a very precise and accurate manner, giving Mohs micrographic surgery
the highest cure rate of any procedure used in the treatment of skin cancer.
- Mohs micrographic surgery is minimally invasive and performed in an outpatient
setting under local anesthesia.
- It has up to a 99% cure rate — the lowest chance of recurrence or
re-growth of the tumor provided by any treatment method for skin cancer.
- Mohs results in the smallest wound possible, thereby minimizing your scar.
About the Procedure
You will be contacted prior to your appointment with further instructions
and information. When you arrive at the office, a member of our staff
will review your medical history and details of the procedure. Next, Dr.
Cowan will confirm the exact location of the area to be treated and numb
it with a local anesthetic.
Once numbed, a thin layer of skin will be surgically removed and a bandage
placed over the site. The layer of removed tissue is taken to the lab
where it is processed. This first procedure (or ‘stage’) usually
takes one to two hours. During this time, you will be asked to wait either
in the waiting room or in the procedure room, so you may want to bring
a book or magazine. Please DO NOT leave the office during the waiting period.
Each stage requires one to two hours (sometimes longer) and typically the
skin cancer can be removed in one to three stages. Once the cancer has
been removed, Dr. Cowan will talk to you about the best way to reconstruct
the defect left by surgery. If required, stitching can take an additional
hour. You should plan to be in the office for the entire day, but many
patients may be discharged in four to five hours (sometimes less). We
provide breakfast, lunch and light refreshments for you and your family.
Will the surgery leave a scar?
Any form of treatment for skin cancer will leave a wound or scar. Because
Mohs surgery is tissue sparing, your scar is minimized compared to other
surgical techniques. Once the cancer has been removed completely, Dr.
Cowan will discuss wound repair options with you.
When are sutures removed?
Before you leave the office, we will schedule an appointment for removal
of sutures and follow up with the doctor. Typically this is scheduled
7 to 14 days after the surgical procedure, unless dissolvable sutures
Is recovery painful?
Discomfort from surgery varies with each patient. A pain reliever may be
prescribed. Extra-strength acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory medications
or a prescription pain medication is often sufficient.