What is Mohs surgery and what is the procedure?

Written by: Dr Saqib Jawaid Bashir
Published: | Updated: 30/11/2018
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Mohs surgery (named after Frederick Mohs 1910-2002) is the gold standard method for treating several skin cancers. It involves testing the skin cancer at the same time that it’s removed, to determine if it has been adequately removed. The main advantages are that the surgical wound matches the size, shape and depth of the cancer, so that no tissue is removed unnecessarily.


What is the procedure?

In most cases, Mohs surgery is performed under local anaesthetic as a daycase, meaning you are awake and can go home the same day. After the anaesthetic is injected, the affected skin can be cut out and sent for laboratory testing. While you wait for the results, a dressing is placed over the wound and typically you would be allowed to eat, drink, read etc. Once the results are available, you may be brought back into the operating room to remove more cancer - this happens repeatedly until the area has been cleared of skin cancer. Subsequently, the wound can be repaired by stitching, a skin graft or flap, or simply allowed to heal by itself with a dressing.

The recovery

In most cases, patients can go directly home after Mohs surgery. Any stitches are typically removed seven days later but this can vary. However, there may be some bruising and swelling, and you may have sports and strenuous activites restricted for a few days. Mohs surgery is highly successful and in many studies has been shown to reduce the chance of cancers returning after surgery. It is used for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, lentigo maligna and other rare skin cancers. If you have any worries regarding skin cancer, see a dermatologist.

By Dr Saqib Jawaid Bashir

Dr Saqib Jawaid Bashir is a highly revered and mightily experienced leading London-based dermatologist who currently practices at various reputable London clinics including Sloane Hospital. He specialises in Mohs micrographic surgery, skin cancer and aesthetic surgery and possesses a significant amount of expertise when it comes to skin disease, skin surgery, as well as laser dermatology. He is also a lecturer at King's College London. 

Dr Bashir, who was named one of the best 250 doctors in the United Kingdom by Tatler's Good Doctor Guide, has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals to-date and is dedicated to training and education serving on the London Deanery training programme. He completed formal fellowship training in both surgical and laser dermatology at the renowned St. John's Institute of Dermatology, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, London. 

Per year, he performs over 250 cases of Mohs surgery, which typically include significantly complex cases in relation to eyelids, ears, nose and lips. A core element of Dr Bashir's practice is advanced laser dermatology, and he regulalrly incorporates the use of the pulsed dye laser tool and is keen on providing rejuvenating treatments such as fractional laser resurfacing, laser hair removal, as well as laser treatment of veins, fillers and toxin-based wrinkle treatments. 

Impressively, Dr Bashir has undergone specialist and general medical training at some of the world's most established centres, such as the University of California, University of San Francisco, Addenbrooke's Hospital, as well as the London-based Cambridge and St. John's Institute of Dermatology, Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital. 

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