Evidence Basedcheckmark

Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is considered the most effective and precise method of skin cancer removal with a high cure rate and aesthetic outcome.

Mohs Surgery

The Skinny


Average Recovery

5 days

Permanence

Temporary

Application

Minor Surgical Procedure

Surgical

Yes

Cost

$1000 - $1998

The Specifics


What is Mohs surgery?

A Mohs surgery (a.k.a. Mohs micrographic surgery) is the gold standard dermatology procedure performed by a specialized dermatologist for many types of skin cancers. The Mohs surgeon can precisely remove cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue in this effective treatment.

A Mohs procedure involves removal of thin layers of tissue for review by a pathologist to determine margins of healthy tissue and cancer cells. The Mohs Surgeon can then repeat thin layers of tissue sample removal with a scalpel at the surgical site until the entire tumor is removed, and the patient is free of cancer cells. This is all done in the same visit with wait times in between each step. A Mohs dermatologic surgery is the gold standard for many common types of skin cancer as it has the highest cure rate with excellent cosmetic results.

There are alternative surgical techniques such as the shave excision technique which does not require stitches and creates a very small scar, the punch excision which can treat deeper lesions less than eight millimeters, and the surgical excision which treats lesions greater than eight millimeters.

What cosmetic concerns does a Mohs surgery treat?

  1. Birthmarks, Moles, & Skin Growths: Mohs surgery is highly precise, effective, and allows for more desirable aesthetic outcomes when treating many common skin cancers.

Who is the ideal candidate for a Mohs surgery?

The ideal candidate for a Mohs surgery has a basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), or, in some cases, a melanoma in any area of the body. Mohs Surgery is not recommended for those with superficial, small, or low risk BCCs or SCCs in non sensitive areas that can be treated via other treatments like surgical excision or cryosurgery.

What is the average recovery associated with a Mohs surgery?

Most patients experience a few days of recovery following a Mohs Surgery, although this varies widely depending on location of the lesion, extensiveness of the procedure, and the individual candidate. The excision site should be kept clean and dry for a few days. Avoidance of direct sun exposure, use of sunscreen, and good skincare are advised following the surgery.

What are the potential side effects of a Mohs surgery?

Possible side effects following Mohs surgery include scar formation, infection at the incision site, erythema, swelling, and suboptimal wound healing.

What can someone expect from the results of a Mohs surgery?

The results of a Mohs surgery are immediate, complete, and permanent removal of the lesion. There is a low risk of scarring from the surgical procedure.

What is the average cost of a Mohs surgery?


A Mohs surgery procedure can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. The actual cost of a Mohs surgery is dependent upon insurance, location, plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the surgical procedure.

Pros

Complete removalHighly precisePermanent

Cons

Stitches neededScarMulti-step process

Invasiveness Score

mildmoderatesevere
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Invasiveness is graded based on factors such as anesthesia practices, incisions, and recovery notes common to this procedure.

What to Expect


Mohs surgery is a surgical skin lesion removal procedure. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after a Mohs surgery:

The Takeaway


A Mohs surgery is the gold standard procedure for the removal of many common types of skin cancers with a very high cure rate and superior aesthetic outcomes.

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Source List

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AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Leelawadee Techasatian Neonatal Birthmarks: A Prospective Survey in 1000 Neonates PubMed.gov; 2019-03-29
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