Mohs Micrographic Surgery, more often referred to as Mohs Surgery, is a common surgical procedure used to remove certain types of skin cancer, primarily basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Both are fairly common types of skin cancer, with 5.4 million cases diagnosed each year in the U.S.1 For individuals seeking a Philadelphia Mohs doctor, Skin and Laser Surgery Center serves as the preferred, top-rated dermatology practice for Mohs consultation and surgery.
History of Mohs Surgery
Mohs Surgery is named after its founder, Frederic E. Mohs, MD, who as a medical student from 1929 – 1934 conducted cancer research while working under his mentor, Dr. Michael Guyer. Dr. Guyer was an expert and author in the preparation of frozen tissue for producing microscopic slides. His same microscopic techniques would later be used by Dr. Mohs in the study of cancer, specifically those removed by shave or saucerization excision – a technique that removes the cancer as a thin disc of tissue for microscope examination.
Following medical school, Dr. Mohs launched his practice at the Wisconsin General Hospital, which would become the country’s first Mohs lab. In 1936, he treated his first patient – an individual with squamous cell cancer of the lower lip. In 1953, after years of refining his practice and procedures, Dr. Mohs accidentally performed a fresh tissue excision on a lower eyelid and was pleasantly surprised with the results. That marked the beginning of using fresh tissue excision for all eyelid margin cases, as well as small cancers in other locations – ultimately leading to surgeries and closures on the same day with immediate reconstruction of the wound.
Through the 1970s – 1980s, cryostat machines were developed to assist the process of freezing live tissue for microscope examination, and automatic tissue staining machines helped with the growing number of tissue samples. Dr. Mohs’ decades-long refinement of the technique and technology is responsible for today’s Mohs Micrographic Surgery process.
The Process & Benefits
Mohs Surgery involves removing one thin layer of cancerous tissue at a time, with each layer carefully examined under a microscope. Not requiring general anesthesia, it can be performed right in a doctor’s office. The majority of Mohs surgeries are performed on the face, head and neck, where patients are the most concerned about scarring.
Considering that primary concern, Mohs Surgery offers patients several advantages including the precision by which lesions can be removed – including deep sections of the skin cancer – leaving as much healthy skin as possible and thereby minimizing the wound.
The cure rate of basal and squamous cell carcinomas with Mohs surgery is approximately 95% after five years. As the now widely-accepted standard in skin cancer treatment, Skin and Laser Surgery Center stands apart as the Mohs surgery Philadelphia practice where patients receive the best care from the best doctors. Their practice includes American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS) fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons – the revered training and residency program established by Dr. Frederic Mohs himself.
Learn more about the Mohs Surgery offered by Dr. Blechman in Philadelphia, PA here.