About Mohs Micrographic Surgery

Developed by the University of Wisconsin's own Dr. Frederich Mohs in the 1930s, Mohs micrographic is an effective way to treat basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, two common types of skin cancer.


About Mohs Micrographic Surgery


During Mohs micrographic surgery, surgeons apply an anesthetic to the patient's skin and remove the portion of the skin that is cancerous one layer at a time. Doctors examine each layer, and continue removing the layers of skin until they no longer find any cancer cells.


About Frederich Mohs: Developing the Mohs Technique


Frederich Mohs was born in Burlington, Wisconsin, and trained as a surgeon at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. While still a student, Mohs discovered that a zinc chloride solution could preserve tissue without changing it.


Mohs refined the solution so it could be used on patients with skin cancer. During the procedure:

  • Surgeons apply the solution to the area of the skin that is thought to have cancer cells.
  • The solution "fixes" - freezes - the potentially cancerous skin cells, usually within a few hours.
  • Surgeons remove one layer of skin and examine it.
  • The process is repeated as long as surgeons continue to find cancer cells in the sections of skin they remove.
  • Once the sections of skin are found to be free of cancer cells, no more layers of skin are removed. When only healthy skin tissue remains, the surgical wound is repaired.

Hoping to decrease patient discomfort, Dr. Mohs later modified the technique by substituting an anesthetic for the zinc chloride solution initially used during the procedure. This "fresh tissue" approach proved to be as effective as the original technique.


The Mohs Advantage

  • Mohs surgery is an exact procedure. It only removes skin tissue that is found to have cancer. Healthy skin tissue is not removed during the procedure.
  • Mohs surgery is particularly effective when used on areas where skin preservation is important cosmetically, like the nose and eyes.