1635 Gunbarrel Road
Suite 400, Building C
Chattanooga, TN 37421
A precision surgical technique for treating skin cancer
Mohs surgery is a way for surgeons to remove cancerous layers of skin from the face, ears, hands, and feet. Mohs surgery is a state-of-the-art procedure that carefully removes cancerous skin cells layer by layer. Unlike most skin cancer surgeries that remove both cancerous and healthy cells at the same time, Mohs surgery uses a precise technique that avoids removing healthy skin.
During a procedure, the surgeon carefully removes small, thin pieces of tissue from your skin. After a layer is removed, your surgeon will examine the layer under a microscope. If the surgeon finds cancerous cells inside the layer of skin, they will continue to remove layers until no cancerous tumor cells are found. The goal is to remove all malignant cells and as little tissue as possible.
Mohs surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, under local anesthesia.
Advantages of Mohs surgery:
- Provides the best change to cure skin cancer – up to 99 percent
- Maximizes chances that your skin will look and work the way it should after surgery due to minimal tissue loss.
- Fewer anesthesia risks by using local versus general anesthesia.
When is Mohs Surgery Right for You?
- Tumors in sensitive or functionally critical areas, such as the skin around the eyes, lips, nose, scalp, toes or genitals.
- Aggressive or fast growing tumors
- Recurrent tumors
- Tumors with undefined edges
What to Expect
Day of Surgery
- Patients should arrange for a family member of friend to drive them home after surgery.
- Shower or bathe prior to surgery. Patients may be advised not to shower afterwards.
- Do not wear makeup or lotion
- Eat breakfast and take all medications as directed until you are told otherwise
- It’s not recommended to drive while on pain medication
- Consider taking a day off the day after surgery
- The affected area will have a large bandage and your provider will give you instructions on how to care for your wound and change your bandage.
- Please limit exercise and physical activity for at least 48 hours after surgery. Avoid activities that increase your heart rate or blood pressure.
- Patients may experience swelling and bruising around the area in which the skin was removed.
- Some areas, particularly around the eye, are more sensitive. That part of your skin may remain numb for several months.
- Some patients experience tingling, shooting, or sharp pain and discomfort around the affected area while the skin heals.
- Scaring is normal. However, Mohs surgery uses precise techniques, which can limit noticeable scarring. Your surgeon may recommend additional procedures that can decrease the appearance of scars, including laser therapy.
- Your surgeon will want to schedule a follow-up appointment one to two weeks after surgery.
- Although Mohs surgery is extremely successful in preventing cancer from recurring in the same spot, monitoring is still important for detecting new lesions that may form elsewhere.
Brandon Brown, MD, is a board-certified, fellowship-trained dermatologist and certified Mohs surgeon. His areas of expertise include:
• Surgical dermatology
• Mohs surgery and reconstruction
• Melanoma and skin cancers
• Benign growths