What Happens During Mohs Surgery?

Nov 23, 2020
Here’s what you should know about getting skin cancer surgery.

Here’s what you should know about getting skin cancer surgery.

Whether you’re about to undergo Mohs surgery or you have a family member that is, dermatologists Dr. Ruben Moreno and Dr. Frank Lee understand that you may have questions or want to know about the procedure. Mohs surgery has become a common treatment option for many forms of skin cancer. Here are the steps involved in getting Mohs skin cancer surgery,

Step 1: We will examine the lesion and prep the skin for surgery

When you come into the office, expect to be here for several hours (typically around 2-4 hours), so wear comfortable clothes. Once you are here, the dermatologist will examine the lesion and mark the area with a pen. Your doctor will determine whether you should lie down or sit up during the procedure (based on your comfort). Once you are comfortable, a local anesthetic is administered to numb the area.

Step 2: We will remove the outermost layer of the lesion

The first step in the surgery is to remove the top layer of tissue from the cancerous lesion. Since some skin cancer lesions have roots that are not visible until we start to remove the lesion, Mohs surgery makes it possible to detect and remove these roots while preserving as much healthy tissue around the lesion as possible. Once the first layer is removed, you will be temporarily bandaged and the sample will be taken to the lab for testing.

Step 3: The lab will analyze your first tissue sample

Your dermatologist will separate the tissue and color code them. Then the lab will freeze and cut the tissue samples to place on slides. These slides are then studied under a microscope. If cancer cells are found, they will make a note of these areas to let the dermatologist know where to remove the next layer of tissue.

Step 4: Another layer of tissue is removed

Step 2 is repeated, removing another layer of skin and prepping it the same way for lab analysis. If necessary, we may need to use another local anesthetic to numb the area. This process of tissue removal and lab analysis will continue until the lab tech no longer sees cancer cells on the slides. Once that is complete, the wound can be stitched and bandaged.

The dermatologists at Florida Dermatology Associates are proud to provide comprehensive skin care to the Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Palm Bay, Port St. John, and Suntree, FL, areas.

If you are concerned about skin cancer or want to discuss the skin cancer treatments we offer, call our office at (321) 768-1600 to schedule an appointment.