What is Mohs Surgery?

(Also called Mohs Micrographic Surgery.)

Mohs Surgery is a specialized type of surgery used to treat skin cancers, and offers several unique benefits to standard skin cancer treatments such as excision, electrodessication, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation. During the procedure, the surgeon can see where the cancer stops. This isn’t possible with other types of treatment for skin cancer.

The ability to see where the cancer stops gives Mohs surgeons like Dr. Brooks Bahr, MD two important advantages:

  1. They can offer a higher cure rate compared to other treatments for skin cancer
  2. They allow you to keep as much healthy skin as possible because the Dr. Bahr only removes the skin with cancer cells. This is especially important when skin cancer develops in an area with little tissue beneath (e.g., eyelid, ear, or hand).

Mohs surgery should only be performed by a board certified dermatologist with extensive training, like Dr. Brooks Bahr, a Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. Dr. Bahr has been extensively trained in all types of skin cancer treatments, and will recommend your individualized treatment based on the characteristics of your tumor, its location, and your desires. You can trust Bahr Dermatology to always give you the best for your skin cancer treatment, including the highest cure rates, a smaller, less conspicuous scar, and faster recovery. Dr. Bahr helps patients in Bountiful, Woods Cross and North Salt Lake.

Step 1 


The Visbile Tumor and  a small segment of surrounding skin are removed.

Step 2 


The tissue is examined under a microscope for cancer cells

Step 3


If cancer cells are found, skin continues to be removed and examined. 

Step 4  
This continues until no more cancer cells are found.

 

What is it like to have Mohs surgery?

During the procedure, most patients remain awake and alert. This means it can safely be performed at Bahr Dermatology in Bountiful without sedation. On the day of the procedure, Dr. Brooks Bahr will examine the area to be treated. His highly trained assistants will prep you for surgery, and you will receive an injection of anesthetic. This only numbs the area around the skin cancer so you’ll be awake during the procedure. After the area is numb, Dr. Bahr with start by first cutting out the visible skin cancer with a thin layer of surrounding skin. You’re then bandaged so that you can wait comfortably.

While you wait, Dr. Bahr’s highly trained laboratory assistants at Bahr Dermatology in Bountiful will process the removed skin cancer tissue and put it on a microscope slide. Dr. Bahr then will look at the removed skin under a microscope, looking for cancer cells. If skin cancer cells are found, you’ll need another layer of skin removed.

This process of removing a thin layer of skin and looking at it under a microscope continues until the Dr. Bahr no longer sees cancer cells. Once the skin cancer is fully removed, Dr. Bahr will decide whether to treat your wound. Some wounds heal nicely without stitches, while others need stitches. To minimize the scar and help the area heal, some patients require a skin graft or other type of surgery. Dr. Bahr has been extensively trained in cosmetic reconstruction techniques and will always strive to make your scar from skin cancer surgery as inconspicuous as possible. He will usually treat your wound the same day as your Mohs surgery. Some patients with extensive wounds may have to come back another day or be referred to another Davis County surgeon for wound treatment.

 Pre Op

 2nd Stage

 Post Op

 

 
 

When is Mohs surgery recommended?

Most patients have a common type of skin cancer like basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Mohs is usually recommended when a BCC or SCC:

  • Is aggressive or large
  • Appears in an area with little tissue beneath it (e.g., eyelid, nose, ear, scalp, genitals, hand, or foot)
  • Was treated and has returned

Mohs is also used to treat some rare skin cancers at Bahr Dermatology in Bountiful like DFSP, extramammary Paget’s disease, and Merkel cell carcinoma.

Can Mohs treat melanoma?

Yes, Dr. Bahr occasionally recommend Mohs for treating melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. It is only used to treat an early type of melanoma called lentigo malignant melanoma. This type of melanoma stays close to the surface of the skin for a while.

When treating melanoma, Dr. Bahr uses a modified type of the surgery called slow Mohs. It’s called slow because you must wait longer for the results. It’s not possible for the Dr. Bahr to look at the removed skin and know right away whether it contains cancer cells. More time is needed. Dr. Bahr will remove the visible skin cancer and a bit of normal-looking skin around it. You’ll then be bandaged and sent home.

Most patients in the Bountiful, Woods Cross, NSL area return to our office a day or two later. It’s then that the patient learns whether more skin must be removed or the wound can be closed with stitches. Some wounds are left to heal on their own if the skin cancer surgeon feels the scar will look better in the long run by not using stitches.

Mohs patients have good results

Having any type of surgery can be scary. If you get your skin cancer treatment with Mohs surgery from Dr. Brooks Bahr, MD at Bahr Dermatology in Bountiful, you can know you are in the best hands in Davis County for skin cancer treatment. To get checked for skin cancer or to learn more about surgical treatments, call Bahr Dermatology today.