Developed by Dr. Frederic Mohs, Professor of Surgery at the University of Wisconsin, more than 50 years ago, Mohs Surgery is a highly specialized surgical procedure to remove skin cancers. Mohs micrographic surgery involves removing the skin cancer and examining skin tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached (called clear margins). Because the Mohs College surgeon is a dermatologist with special training in cancer surgery, skin pathology, and reconstructive surgery, Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all treatments for skin cancer.

2018 Mohs Group
2018 Mohs Team

Mohs Surgery Process

Following describes the steps taken for each Mohs surgical procedure:

Mohs Surgery Process
Mohs Surgery Process

Wound Site Repair

In addition to removing skin cancer, fellowship trained Mohs College surgeons have specialized reconstructive surgery training for repairing the wound. The reconstruction will take place on the same day as the surgery or, in rare cases, be performed subsequently by another surgeon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is taking so long between layers?
A: Processing the tissue layers in our on-site lab takes between 1-2 hours depending on the size and cancer type.

Q: How do I take care of the wound site?
A: You will be provided with wound care instructions specific to your wound and repair type.

Q: Are there activity restraints after surgery?
A: It is recommended that you should avoid strenuous activity for 1-2 weeks after surgery.

Diseases and Diagnoses

Diseases and diagnoses treated by UNC Dermatology Skin Cancer and Mohs Surgery include:

  • Basal cell carcinomas
  • Other uncommon skin cancers

  • Melanoma
  • Squamous cell carcinomas

Physician referrals are required for Mohs clinic appointments. Referrals for patients with basal and squamous cell carcinomas as well as a variety of other cutaneous malignancies (Merkel cell carcinomas, sweat gland carcinomas) should be made after confirmed by a biopsy. The physician’s office may contact our office by telephone (984-974-3685) to initiate the referral so that appropriate demographic and clinical information can be collected before appointments are made for the patient. Due to the insurance requirements of many plans, it is necessary to send insurance information as part of the patient referral. As a service to patients, UNC files insurance plans for patients. Should patients need additional assistance or have specific insurance questions, we have a financial counselor available at 984-974-4798. Follow up care is coordinated with the referring physician.

Some of the information and images on this page were provided by the American College of Mohs Surgery.

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