Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer
Physicians at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) offer the complete range of skin cancer treatments, including Mohs surgery. The Mohs technique provides the highest cure rate of any skin cancer treatment – as high as 99 percent for certain forms of skin cancer.
What is Mohs surgery?
Mohs surgery combines the surgical removal of cancer and immediate microscopic examination of the tissue. This allows the surgeon to remove only cancerous skin and preserve as much healthy skin as possible. For these reasons, Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate of any skin cancer treatment methods, and also creates the smallest possible surgical defect, allowing for a better cosmetic outcome.
Mohs surgery is performed under local anesthesia. Once the tumor and surrounding skin have been completely numbed, the visible portion of the tumor is removed. The tissue is taken to our laboratory and processed onto slides. The physician uses a microscope to see if any cancer cells remain. If any cancer cells have been left behind, the surgeon will go back and remove any additional tissue in that exact area. This process is repeated as many times as necessary to ensure complete removal to the tumor. Once all the cancer is removed, the surgeon will repair the wound with stitches (or allow the wound to heal if stitches are not needed).
Advantages of Mohs micrographic surgery:
- Effective: The cure rate after treatment of a primary tumor is 98-99 percent, higher than any other surgery or treatment option for skin cancer
- Great cosmetic outcome: This technique allows for the highest preservation of healthy skin, resulting in the smallest surgical lines possible. Dr. Hankinson has extensive experience in facial skin reconstruction and has taught residents and Mohs surgery fellows in an academic setting these concepts. He will make sure you have an optimal cosmetic outcome for your surgery. He also has experience in surgical scar, burn scar and traumatic scar revision.
- Convenient: Almost all patients undergo complete removal of the skin cancer and reconstruction on the same day. When necessary, coordinated care with other specialists such as oculoplastic surgery, radiation oncology, or other specialties are readily available within Allegheny Health Network.
- Safe: The procedure is done under local anesthesia, eliminating the risks of intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
- Cost effective: Given the high cure rates, lack of general anesthesia, and low complication rates, Mohs surgery is a highly cost-effective treatment for skin cancer removal.
Mohs surgery at AHN: Why choose us?
As an experienced Mohs surgery center, we've successfully treated a large number of patients. Our expertise helps you achieve the best possible results.
Highlights of our program include:
- Mohs surgeon: Our team includes a dermatologist with specialized training and years of experience in Mohs surgery. This level of experience leads to safe, precise skin cancer treatment. Meet Dr. Andrew Hankinson.
- Nationally recognized cancer care: In the rare event the cancer returns after Mohs surgery, we work alongside physicians from AHN’s Cancer Institute to determine the next steps for your care. Find out more about skin cancer and melanoma care.
- Care for common and complex cancers: We successfully treat a broad range of skin cancer types using Mohs surgery, including basal cell carcinoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Is Mohs surgery right for me?
The best way to know whether Mohs surgery is right for you is by scheduling a visit with one of our dermatologists. After a detailed evaluation, we confirm the type of cancer and let you know your skin cancer treatment options.
We use Mohs surgery to treat common forms of skin cancer, including:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Dermatofibromasarcoma Protuberans (DFSP)
- Extramammary Paget Disease (EMPD)
We may also recommend Mohs surgery to treat skin cancers that:
- Appear on your scalp, face, hands, or feet
- Genital skin cancers
- Larger or rapidly growing skin cancers
- Have ill-defined borders meaning they lack a clear beginning or end
- Recurrent skin cancers