What is Mohs Micrographic Surgery?

Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 6, 2007

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Frederic E. Mohs, MD, developed the micrographic surgical technique that bears his name. It is a highly specialized method of removing skin cancers that uses microscopic guidance to decrease the likelihood of leaving behind extensions of cancer that are not visible at the the skin surface [Figure 1]; and to avoid wide cuts that would remove healthy skin and unnecessarily increase scarring [Figure 2].

Mohs micrographic surgery offers the best chance that your cancer is completely removed, while sparing as much healthy skin as possible [Figure 3].

The precision of Mohs micrographic surgery results in two major advantages:

  • the highest published cure rates for many forms of skin cancer, making it less likely for cancer to grow back; and
  • maximal preservation of healthy skin, which leads to the best possible cosmetic and functional result.

These advantages make Mohs micrographic surgery especially useful for the treatment of skin cancers that are large, have poorly defined edges, have grown back after previous treatments, or are located on areas of the body where keeping the surgical wound as small as possible is critical in obtaining excellent cosmetic and functional outcomes.


Figure 1
Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary


Figure 2
Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary


Figure 3
Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2007, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

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