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Mohs Surgery Considerations

Mohs surgery is the gold standard for the treatment of skin cancer. It is the most precise and effective treatment for a wide variety of skin cancers and has the highest cure rate of any skin cancer treatment, including skin cancers that have previously been treated. During Mohs surgery, we examine 100% of the skin margin, allowing us to precisely identify and remove cancerous tissue while leaving the surrounding healthy skin intact.

Our team of fellowship-trained Mohs surgeons is exceptionally skilled in surgically removing skin cancer, examining the skin cancer under the microscope and reconstructing the surgical defect left behind. Your Mohs surgeon has intensive, specialized training in reconstructing skin after Mohs surgery to minimize scarring and leave you with the best possible functional and cosmetic outcome.

What to Expect When You’re Having Mohs Surgery

You can expect your Mohs surgery appointment to last approximately three to six hours. This is because the procedure involves removing thin layers of skin around the skin cancer one at a time, and examining them under a microscope to look for skin cancer cells.

Please bring someone with you on the day of surgery. Take all your medications on the day of surgery and eat a good breakfast. You do not need to stop blood thinners before surgery. We use local anesthesia so you will not be put to sleep. Most of your day will be spent waiting for the layers of skin to be examined under the microscope.

While you are waiting, you are free to walk around, get something to eat or drink, use the bathroom and visit with family. Once the removed layers of skin show no more cancerous cells, your Mohs surgeon will repair the surgical defect with stitches. The repair procedure takes place the same day as the cancer removal. You will have a large bandage on the surgical area, which stays in place for 48 hours. After that, you can remove it and replace it with a smaller bandage.

Pain afterward is mild. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter pain relievers. In most cases, you will return to have your stitches removed in one to two weeks. At that visit, we will check the surgical area to make sure it is healing properly. Your surgeon will likely want you to avoid exercise for one to two weeks after surgery. After your Mohs surgery, we will provide you with a phone number where you can reach the clinic at any time, day or night, with any questions or concerns you may have.

Johns Hopkins Surgical Dermatology

Learn more about the Johns Hopkins Dermatology's surgical services and how to prepare for a procedure.

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