What is Mohs surgery?

What is Mohs surgery?

By Dr. Joey Price

Battling skin cancer can be frightening and isolating. How do you choose the right treatment? How can you best protect your health? The options are dizzying, which means many patients delay consulting with a dermatologist, risking their well-being. Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology has been treating skin cancer for years, and patients commonly choose a specialized procedure, Mohs surgery, to treat their skin cancer.

Mohs surgery has the highest cure rate of all skin cancer treatments. It’s the most effective treatment for basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas on cosmetically and functionally sensitive areas like the eyelids, lips, ears, nose, temples, hands, feet, genitalia, and scalp. 

If you’re searching for skin cancer treatment options, keep in mind that there are big differences between the Mohs procedure and other skin cancer treatments, like excisional surgery. 

Learn more about Mohs surgery to see if it’s the right option for you. 

What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs surgery is a precise technique that allows the surgeon to remove only the cancerous cells, preserving healthy skin.  This results in the highest cure rate and smallest possible scar. It’s completely performed in an office-based outpatient setting!  Here’s an overview of what to expect during Mohs surgery. 

Meet your doctor

Before the procedure, you’ll meet with your doctor (That’s me!). Mohs surgeons are unique in that they are trained in the surgical removal of skin cancer, pathology (reading the slides to determine if cancerous cells remain), and best practices for repairing the site after skin cancer removal. 

To get started, we’ll chat with you about any concerns or questions you might have. We will mark the area for the procedure, which you’ll confirm is correct.

Start the procedure

After confirming the area, we’ll inject a local anesthetic, which means you’ll be awake during the procedure, but numbed. During Mohs surgery, we remove the visible cancer with only a thin layer of surrounding skin.  We’ll then temporarily bandage your wound and guide you to a special surgical waiting room. You can enjoy snacks, coffee, and TV in a relaxing environment.  


While you are waiting, we will process your tissue sample in our in-house lab and check it under a microscope.  If we don’t see any cancer cells, then your procedure is done! If there are still cancer cells, we will anesthetize the area once more and remove another layer of skin. We use special mapping techniques that ensure we’re only removing cancerous tissue. We’ll continue on this way until there are no cancer cells remaining in your sample. 


We will then repair the surgical site and release you on the same day. You’ll have a pressure bandage over the area for the first 24 hours. We’ll remove any sutures about a week after the procedure. Most patients take Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain management during recovery. 

The 4 benefits of choosing Mohs surgery

Mohs surgery is an alternative to excisional surgery with benefits like:

    1. The highest cure rate: Basal cell and squamous cell cancers have great cure rates with Mohs surgery. 
    2. Smaller scars: Your surgeon only removes the cancer itself, keeping as much healthy skin as possible. 
    3. Cost savings: The Mohs procedure is performed in the office, saving you the expense of a hospital stay.
    4. No risk of general anesthesia: Get local anesthetic and avoid the anxiety of going under general anesthesia. 


Kick cancer for good

Skin cancer treatment can feel scary, but our experienced staff is trained to help you feel comfortable at every step of the procedure. In fact, our Mohs patients often say the procedure was better than they thought it would be! Cumberland Skin has some of the most caring, nurturing clinicians on staff. We’re here to guide you back to wellness. To learn more about Mohs, contact Cumberland Skin’s team of renowned skin cancer experts in Nashville. 

Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology provides effective, compassionate general dermatology, skin cancer surgery and cosmetic dermatology solutions for our patients throughout the Southeast. With offices in Hermitage, Lebanon, Brentwood and Hendersonville, Tennessee, we’re your destination for high-caliber skincare. Visit our website at cumberlandskin.com or give us a call today at 615-257-7128.