Basal Cell Cancer – Mohs Micrographic Surgery

January 10th, 2011

Mohs Micrographic Surgery (MMS) is a surgical method for treating Basal Cell Cancers that I recommend for some of my patients in my The Woodlands dermatology and Conroe dermatology offices.  MMS is typically used for Basal Cell Cancers and Squamous Cell Cancers in high risk anatomic locations such as the head, neck and scalp or those with aggressive histological subtypes prone to recurrence and positive margins with wide excision. During MMS, patients are anesthetized with a local anesthetic such as lideocaine and a 3 mm margin of normal skin is excised around what is visible of the cancer.  The specimen is processed for microscopy using frozen sections.  Instead of the typical “bread loaf” sectioning of the tissue, the frozen specimen is sectioned in manner that 360 degrees of the tissue is examined.  If any cancer remains, a Mohs Micrographic map is created so only the areas with positive margins need to be re-excised, thus conserving tissue.  A Mohs Micrographic Surgery can be completed in a half day but sometimes the entire day is needed to achieve clear margins. Once margins are clear, the surgical defect can be repaired.  The cure rate for primary Basal Cell Cancers is 99% and for recurrent Basal Cell Cancers it is 96%.