Skin Cancer and Mohs Surgery
Skin cancers are increasing in the United States. At the Johns Hopkins Center for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery our physicians evaluate and treat hundreds of patients every year with skin cancers on the face, head and neck.
We offer a unique team approach, working alongside highly specialized dermatologists on faculty at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. This side by side effort – with the Mohs skin cancer dermatologic surgeon treating the cancer, and our facial plastic surgeons repairing the resultant defect on the face – is the only one of its kind in the region. It provides unparalleled expertise, ensuring the best possible aesthetic result with the best cure rates possible.
Please Be Advised. The skin cancer "before" images may be too graphic for some viewers.
The methods to treat, and then to reconstruct skin cancers on the face, scalp, and neck are varied. The treatment is most often surgical, as this generally offers the best chance of cure. Simple excisions may be performed, or we may coordinate care from a Mohs surgeon.
Mohs surgery is a highly specialized treatment for the total removal of skin cancer. This method differs from all other methods of treating skin cancer by the use of complete microscopic examination of all the tissues removed surgically as well as detailed mapping techniques to allow the surgeon to remove the entire lesion. It is named for the surgeon who developed the technique; Dr. Frederick E. Mohs.
The procedure is performed without hospitalization under a local anesthetic. The visible lesion and a very thin layer of skin are removed with a scalpel, carefully mapped, and examined microscopically.
If there is still cancer seen under the microscope, another very thin layer of skin is removed from that exact location. This is repeated as often as necessary to completely remove the cancer. Mohs surgery removes as little normal tissue as possible, minimizing scarring.
Repairs range from very simple excision and closures of small defects, to complex local tissue rearrangements, and even microvascular free tissue transfer. Our goals are to:
- Maximize the chance of cure.
- Minimize the effects of the treatment on one's appearance.
The fact that our surgeons specialize in cosmetic facial surgery as a substantial component of their practice leads to high patient satisfaction with the final results.
What to Expect
Planning for microsurgical reconstruction requires a detailed evaluation that includes setting expectations. There are cosmetic changes that may occur, as well as some losses of function.
We assess each patient for potential donor sites from which tissue can be borrowed with the least functional losses and maximum gain. Occasionally special imaging studies are obtained to look for available blood vessels to be used in the free tissue transplant. On the average the expected hospital stay ranges from 3 to 7 days.
Request an Appointment
To request an appointment or to get more information about the Johns Hopkins Center for Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, please call 877-546-4530.