What is Mohs surgery?

Mohs micrographic surgery is a method used to remove skin cancer. The procedure was developed by Frederic E. Mohs, M.D. in the 1930s and has since been refined.

What types of skin cancers are removed with Mohs surgery?

The Mohs procedure is most often used to treat basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas - two of the most common forms of skin cancer. However, there is also utility for other more rare, aggressive, skin and soft tissue cancers. Mohs surgery is particularly helpful for:

  • Skin cancers near vital functional or cosmetically important areas, such as eyelids, nose, ears, lips, forehead, scalp, fingers, or genital area.
  • Skin cancer that is 2 cm (approximately 1 inch) or larger on any area other than the face.
  • Skin cancer with borders that are not clearly defined.
  • Skin cancers in which other treatments have failed (i.e., the cancer comes back after treatment).
  • Skin cancer in areas where scar tissue already is present.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/28/2018.


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