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How Does Mohs Surgery Work?

How Does Mohs Surgery Work?

A skin cancer diagnosis, like any incidence of cancer, is a frightening prospect. The most common forms of skin cancer have an excellent survival rate when caught early, and the treatment you receive has an impact on your prognosis. 

Mohs surgery, named for pioneering physician Dr. Frederic Mohs, precisely treats many skin cancers with very high success rates while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. A key to success is that Mohs procedures remove all cancerous cells from the skin lesion. 

Jennifer A. Baron MD is a Mohs micrographic surgery specialist as well as a board-certified dermatologist practicing in San Jose California. Dr. Baron and her team help you navigate the skin cancer experience with confidence and experience. 

The Mohs procedure owes its success to its specialized nature, which targets cancer cells on a microscopic level to ensure the removal of all malignant cells while leaving the surrounding skin intact. It’s a surprising revelation for those expecting an operating room experience. 

In the office

We perform Mohs surgery in our office using local anesthetics to keep you comfortable. Perhaps the biggest surprise for many patients is just how comfortable their cancer treatment can be. To help you understand, let’s explore Mohs surgery in greater depth. 

How does Mohs surgery work? 

Other forms of cancer treatment can be quite extensive and invasive. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy take a toll on many body systems that aren’t directly involved with the occurring cancer. 

The target of Mohs surgery is the cancer itself. The process starts with mapping. Your procedure builds around the size and type of cancer you have and Dr. Baron plans her approach carefully. 

The Mohs process proceeds in stages. After you’ve received an anesthetic in the treatment area, Dr. Baron removes thin layers of skin from the lesion, carefully sequencing each layer to aid mapping. We want to remove only cancerous tissue while ensuring that all signs of the tumor are gone. 

Critical analysis

Each skin layer is sliced thinly and analyzed under a microscope to identify cancer cells. As you might expect, this analysis takes time. Mohs procedures usually take hours to complete, though you’re only actively involved when additional layers must be removed. 

Any time Dr. Baron sees skin cancer roots at the edges of a sample, she’ll take additional layers of skin, preparing and analyzing these in the same way. Meanwhile, you’re free to read, check your phone, or even have a snack. 

This back-and-forth process continues until there’s no cancerous tissue remaining. Only a small amount of healthy, cancer-free skin will be removed. 

Reconstructive procedures

Skin cancers come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the amount of cancer below the skin’s surface can be much larger than the visible portion. Many times, we can treat the cosmetic effects on your skin the day of your procedure. 

In other cases where a lesion is larger, you might need reconstructive work to repair the area from which the cancer was taken. This may be performed at a later date. 

Every patient is unique. Learn more about the Mohs process and how it can help you. With success rates as high as 99%, Mohs surgery is the standard for effective skin cancer treatment. 

Call Dr. Baron’s office directly to schedule your skin cancer consultation. Time is always important when dealing with cancer, so book your visit with us today. 


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