Mohs Surgery FAQ

What is Mohs Surgery?

Mohs Surgery is a highly specialized treatment for the total removal of skin cancer. Mohs surgery is named in honor of Dr. Frederic Mohs, the physician who developed the technique. This method differs from all other methods of treating skin cancer by using a microscopic examination of all the tissue removed surgically as well as using detailed mapping techniques to allow the surgeon to remove only the area involved with cancer. Our practice is restricted to Mohs surgery for skin cancers referred by other physicians.

Will I be hospitalized?

No. Mohs surgery is performed in a pleasant, outpatient surgical suite using only local anesthesia, very similar to the skin biopsy and you may return home the same day.

What are my chances of cure?

Using Mohs surgery offers the highest cure rate for most types of skin cancers even when other forms of treatment have failed.  For most skin cancers the percentage of cure is approximately 97% to 99%.

Will I have other skin cancers?

The cure rate following Mohs surgical resection of a skin cancer is very high and the tumor is unlikely to recur.  If you have developed skin cancer once, you are at increased risk of developing new, unrelated skin cancers in the future.

Can I eat breakfast?

You may eat a normal breakfast on the day of surgery and take all your normal medications unless otherwise specified.

Will my insurance cover the cost?

We accept assignment on Medicare policies.  We will also submit a claim to any other insurance company for you. Expenses not covered include insurance deductible, coinsurance and co-pay amounts.  Ask the office staff if you have concerns about being covered.  We would not want anyone to be denied medical care because of an inability to pay. If you have difficulty understanding or paying your bill, we encourage you to discuss your problem with the office manager.

Will I have pain after surgery?

Most patients have only mild discomfort as the anesthesia is wearing off and Tylenol is usually all that is needed for relief.

How long will it take?

It takes 5 – 10 minutes to remove each layer of tissue and usually 30 minutes to one hour to process and examine it.  Most tumors require the removal of 1-3 layers, but since this is not known until surgery has begun, we ask patients to set aside 2 to 6 hours of time when they schedule their surgical appointment.

What kind of anesthesia is used?

All anesthesia is local and surgeries are performed in an office setting.

What should I bring with me for my consultation?

Please bring a list of your current medications, your local pharmacy number, appointment book, state or government issued picture ID and your insurance cards.

Can I drive after surgery?

Yes, you can drive home after the surgery unless otherwise specified at the time of the consultation.

Will I be having surgery at my first appointment?

No, your first appointment is a consultation with Dr. Marcus.

What should I bring with me on the day of surgery?

Bring a sweater, light jacket or blanket. Bring something to keep you occupied, ie: book, tablet, laptop. We do have wi-fi in our office. It is also recommended to bring a light snack.

Will I have a bandage after surgery?

Yes, you will leave our office with a pressure bandage that you will leave on until your next visit.

What are the advantages of Mohs surgery?

By using these detailed mapping techniques and complete microscopic control, the Mohs surgeon can pinpoint areas involved with cancer that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, even the smallest microscopic roots of cancer can be removed. The results are the removal of as little normal skin as possible and the highest possibility for curing the cancer.

Why is it called Mohs surgery?

The term “Mohs” refers to Dr. Frederic Mohs, Professor of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin, who developed this surgical technique in the 1930s. The technique has undergone many refinements and has come to be known as “Mohs micrographic surgery” or simply “Mohs surgery” in honor of Dr. Mohs.