Mohs Surgery Misconceptions
* Disclaimer – Individual results may vary
Mohs or micrographic surgery is a highly accurate surgical and pathological technique for identifying the roots of skin cancers and removing skin cancers with a real-time analysis. Dr. Bailey has trained extensively in Mohs surgery and performs thousands of procedures each year. Although this surgical technique is both common and effective, many patients may not know about this procedure that leads to great cure rates. Read here as Dr. Bailey explains the difference between Mohs and the study of frozen section biopsies.
It is often assumed that Mohs is the same as frozen section biopsies.
While Mohs surgery utilizes frozen sections to evaluate tumors, Mohs micrographic surgery is not the same as frozen section biopsies, and it is often incorrectly stated that Mohs surgery can be done by any pathologist who can read frozen section biopsies.
There is a distinct, accredited one-year fellowship for training board certified dermatologists in Mohs micrographic surgery. Mohs surgery allows the comprehensive assessment of surgical margins, and it requires a surgeon who is trained in both surgery and pathology, as well as a lab team that can process the tissue appropriately. I was co-director of an accredited Mohs fellowship and have trained both surgeons and lab technicians in proper Mohs surgery tissue processing and the surgical technique.
Some Mohs surgeons have not completed an accredited Mohs surgery fellowship, and if a Mohs surgeon has not completed an accredited fellowship, the evidence shows the cure rate is lower and the quality of the outcome declines. (Murphy, ME; Broadland, DG; Zitelli, JA. Errors in the interpretation of Mohs histopathology sections over a 1 year fellowship. Murphy, ME; Broadland, DG; Zitelli, JA. Dermatol Surg. 2008. Dec; 34(12):1637-41.)
When Mohs micrographic surgery is performed correctly, it has the highest cure rate of any surgical techniques for skin cancer.