For many skin cancer patients, Mohs micrographic surgery is the best treatment option. It offers:
- A high cure rate — up to a 99% success rate for most common skin cancers
- Precise excision that spares healthy skin
- Ideal cosmetic outcomes with less scarring
- Same day outpatient care
Leaders in Mohs Micrographic Surgery
The Mohs Surgery Clinic specializes in Mohs micrographic surgery and is one of the leading health care clinics in the area to offer it because of several distinctions.
- All procedures are performed by fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons and board-certified dermatologists with extensive experience.
- The procedure is performed in specially designed procedure rooms with an attached laboratory, providing the most convenient, comfortable and timely care possible.
- Specially trained laboratory and surgical technicians are there to assist with the process and provide the most efficient, patient-centered care.
See our list of questions you should consider when selecting a physician to perform Mohs micrographic surgery.
High Cure Rate – Up to 99%
The biggest advantage of Mohs surgery is its high cure rate (97 – 99%) for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the two most common forms of skin cancer. This is the highest success rate of all available forms of skin cancer treatment.
About the Mohs Surgery Procedure
The Mohs surgery technique lets physicians remove just the skin tissue affected by the skin cancer while preserving as much of the healthy surrounding tissue as possible.
Mohs microscopic surgery is performed in special outpatient procedure rooms in the Mohs Surgery Clinic, located at the Froedtert Bluemound Clinics.
The surgery is done using local anesthesia, similar to that used for a skin biopsy or minor dental work. Soothing décor and an audio system in the procedure rooms provide a comfortable environment for patients. Patients may even bring their own handheld devices to occupy them during the wait time associated with the laboratory processing of the removed cancer.
During the Mohs procedure, the surgeon uses a scalpel to remove precise, thin layers of tissue from the cancerous area. Next, while the patient waits, the excised skin is processed in the adjacent laboratory and then examined under a microscope by the Mohs surgeon.
If any cancer cells are seen, the location is noted on a “map.” This map is used by the surgeon as a guide for removing a second layer of tissue. The tissue removal and mapping process is repeated until the tissue layers are cancer-free. For their safety and comfort, patients stay in the procedure room — a private, sterile environment that reduces the chances of infection — until the entire process is complete.
After the skin cancer has been completely removed, a decision is made about how to best treat the wound so the patient regains maximum functionality and appearance. Common options include allowing the area to heal on its own or various reconstructive techniques with suture placement.
Smaller Excisions, Less Scarring
Because the Mohs procedure removes only as much tissue as is necessary to fully eliminate the cancer, the surgery site is smaller than if other procedures were used. This is important for patients with large skin cancers, especially those on the face. It is also well suited for treating skin cancers in difficult locations like the eyelid, lip, ear or nose.
Mohs Surgery Questions to Ask
Receiving a cancer diagnosis of any kind can be overwhelming. The Skin Cancer Center encourages all patients to explore their options and get a second opinion. Talk with potential providers about their experience to help ensure you are making the best choices at this important time. If you have other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at 414-805-0505 or 866-680-0505.
Mohs surgery is best performed by fellowship-trained dermatologists with a laboratory nearby. When considering Mohs treatments, here are some questions potential patients may want ask the physician.
Are you fellowship trained in Mohs surgery?
Fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons have completed residency AND an additional specialized Mohs surgery fellowship which involves at least one year of extensive surgical training in the Mohs procedure, skin cancer pathology and reconstruction.
How long have you been performing Mohs ' surgery?
The more experience, the better.
What percentage of your practice is dedicated to Mohs surgery?
The more specialized, the better. Greater than 90% of patients treated through in the Mohs Surgery Clinic are treated with Mohs.
What are your cure rates for this type of cancer with Mohs surgery?
Nationally, and within our Mohs Surgery Clinic, cure rates are 97% – 99%.
Have you published papers about the Mohs procedure or taught others to do it?
Yes, Medical College of Wisconsin physicians have conducted multiple research studies that have been subject of published papers. All physician team members of the Mohs Surgery Clinic are affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Where will the procedure be performed? Do you have a dedicated procedure room with attached skin cancer pathology laboratory?
Performing Mohs in a specially designed procedure room with attached laboratory is best practice for Mohs surgery and provides the most patient-centered experience with the best pathologic diagnosis of your skin cancer.
What kind of training do the laboratory and surgical technicians who assist you with the procedure have?
Special training is preferable. Mohs Surgery Clinic staff are longstanding members of the team and are active members of Mohs professional societies to keep skills as current as possible.
Will you use the fresh-tissue or fixed-tissue technique?
Both procedures are valid in the right circumstances. Fresh-tissue techniques are most associated with the Mohs procedure.
What will you do if you don't find the border of the cancerous lesion?
The Mohs procedure is not complete until all cancer is completely removed. However, in a few instances, follow-up treatment is necessary.
How will the wound be repaired?
The majority of repairs are completed by the Mohs surgeon who is trained in both cancer removal and reconstruction. For more complicated repairs, an oculoplastic surgeon or other plastic surgeon with expertise in a particular area may perform the repair immediately following the procedure or at another time that is appropriate for you. In addition to providing you with the best cure rate, we also want you to have the best possible cosmetic outcome.
Virtual Visits Are Available
Safe and convenient virtual visits by video let you get the care you need via a mobile device, tablet or computer wherever you are. We’ll gather your medical records for you and get our experts’ input so we can offer treatment options without an in-person visit. To schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-680-0505.
Cancer and the COVID-19 Vaccine
There is currently no data that suggests current or former cancer patients should avoid getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Cancer can weaken your immune system, so we recommend that most patients get the vaccine as soon as possible.