Mohs surgery also known as Mohs micrographic surgery is a specialized surgical technique used in the treatment of skin cancers. This procedure was discovered by Dr. Frederick Mohs in 1930s and therefore bears his name.
Your doctor might have recommended you to have Mohs surgery to treat melanoma. Mohs surgery is like most other surgical operations, but it also uses a microscope. During this procedure, the lesion suspected to be melanoma is removed progressively and examined under the microscope to detect cancer cells. These steps are performed in a single operation.
During a traditional surgery for the removal of a malignant tumour, the surgeon cuts the tumour along with some of the surrounding healthy tissues just to be on the safe side and to make sure that all the cancerous cells are being removed. However, it is not till after the surgery that the tumour and the surrounding tissues are examined. It is only during this process that the doctor comes to know for sure whether they got all the tumour or left some behind because the supposedly healthy tissues turned out to be cancerous or conversely, if the tumour was smaller than anticipated and too many healthy tissues were removed in the process.
In comparison to traditional surgery, Mohs micrographic surgery has a much lower rate of error and a higher success rate.
When you have Mohs surgery, the surgeon shaves a thin layer of the suspected lesion and have it mounted for viewing under the microscope. As long as the cancerous cells are present, the surgeon goes on shaving to have them viewed microscopically. This procedure is repeated until the cancer cells are no longer visible under the microscope.